On Wednesday morning via video conference, the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) granted special leave for the final hearing of the nationalizations of Belize Telemedia Limited (BTL) and Belize Electricity Limited (BEL). Citing precedence for direct application to the court for special leave, the CCJ struck out the sole objection of the Government, represented by Acting Solicitor General Nigel Hawke, and proceeded to set a schedule leading up to the full trial of the claim. One of the parties represented in the appeal is former BTL chairman Dean Boyce, who also leads the BTL Employees’ Trust. Their attorney, Senior Counsel Godfrey Smith, relates aspects of their case that they intend to present to the high court.
“Essentially we maintain the position from the beginning that the acquisition of Telemedia was unconstitutional on a number of grounds. That continues to be the position, and that is what will form our appeal to the Caribbean Court of Justice.”
Godfrey Smith is joined by Magali Marin-Young, while also appearing on behalf of British Caribbean Bank Limited and Fortis Energy International, former owners of BEL, is Senior Counsel Eamon Courtenay and Pricilla Banner. The official paperwork, consisting of notices of appeal, formal submissions and replies to submissions will be in by October, at which time the Court will host a case management conference. The actual trial date is tentatively set for no later than the second week of December. In related news from the CCJ, a case management conference has been set for 10:30 a.m. Belize time Thursday, in the original jurisdiction case of Maurice Tomlinson versus the States of Belize and Trinidad and Tobago in relation to alleged discrimination in the immigration law. We will have that story for you on Thursday.