BELIZE CITY, Thurs. May 11, 2017–The US Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit yesterday flatly denied a petition from the Government of Belize to reconsider its recent decision in the case being pursued by former People’s United Party Minister, Glenn D. Godfrey, a Belizean attorney, banker and former telecommunications businessman, in his claim for US$22 million plus interest for the rental of equipment for a wide area telecommunications network, said by the Government to have been dysfunctional and defunct for years.
The terse order handed down on Wednesday, May 10, by a 3-panel judge said that Belize’s petition for the rehearing (made March 21) was being denied. It added that Belize’s petition for a full-court hearing to reconsider the February 2017 ruling handed down by a panel of the court had also been denied, since no circuit judge had requested that the Court be polled on that petition by Belize.
As our newspaper has previously reported, on Tuesday, March 21, Belize filed yet another application with the US Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit asking the court to reconsider its decision in which it declined a request from the Government to dismiss the US$22 million claim by GDG Acquisitions LLC, a company formed in the US by Godfrey.
Godfrey had told the court that the Government of Belize owes more than US$22 million for leased telecommunications equipment, which the Government has still not returned, despite Government’s claims that the equipment was faulty.
The Government contended that the US Court failed to consider Belizean law, where the authority of then Budget Minister, Ralph Fonseca, is concerned. The Government said that Fonseca, who had signed the deal with Godfrey purporting to waive sovereign immunity and agreeing to have the matter litigated in the USA, had no jurisdiction on telecommunications matters and no Cabinet records could be found to substantiate the Government’s approval for him to execute the 2002 agreement.
“Belize’s Constitution and laws delegate specific responsibilities to specific ministers; that constitutionally, such responsibilities are assigned by the Governor-General, ‘in writing’; and Fonseca was never delegated responsibility over ‘telecommunications,’ which was delegated to another minister,” said the Government’s March 21 application.
Public records indicate that the late Maxwell Samuels was the Minister of Telecommunications at the time.
The decision handed down on Wednesday by the US Court of Appeals did not address the specifics of Belize’s petition.
The lower court in the US has still not ventilated the full dispute which sparked the litigation row. The earlier decision by the US Court of Appeals denied the Government of Belize’s request to toss out the case entirely.