PRAYER ALERT on debt ridden Belize. British businessman and politician Lord Michael Ashcroft has made a side-career of plundering Belize. He’s at it again, though debt-ridden Belize has little to give. On January 30 a US District Court gave Lord Ashcroft the right to seize $117 million (US $58.5 million) of Belizean assets in the US. On the same day the Belizean Senate voted unanimously to block that seizure and to criminalize any such seizures in the future.
Ashcroft claims that the $117 million is due him from a once-secret deal he made in 2005 with then-Prime Minister Said Musa. At that time Musa guaranteed Ashcroft that if his telecommunications company BTL didn’t make a 15% net profit each year, the government would deduct the shortfall from his taxes. BTL would also make 17% annual interest on that amount. By 2009 BTL had missed the 15% net profit mark by $100 million. So Ashcroft demanded $117 million including interest.
The new prime minister, Dean Barrow, refused. Instead he nationalized BTL. Later, in 2013 the Caribbean Court of Justice declared the Ashcroft-Musa deal illegal. But Ashcroft keeps spending a fortune on court battles to win more millions from debt-ridden Belize. Belize is $2.3 billion in the red, amounting to $7000 per capita.
The Government of Belize is now scrambling to shield its strained funds from Ashcroft’s clutches. On February 1, GOB went back to the Caribbean Court of Justice, which had denied Ashcroft’s claim in the first place. But the CCJ replied that it could not block the seizure of funds because Ashcroft had not appealed its decision against him. Instead, Ashcroft had gone to a the US District Court in the District of Columbia and won the right to seize Belizean assets in the US. On February 3 GOB rushed to its own Supreme Court and got an injunction against Ashcroft’s seizure of its assets. Since Ashcroft’s companies are located in Belize, GOB says they must obey the Supreme Court of their land.
The problem is, that in his 2005 deal with Ashcroft, then-PM Musa waived sovereign immunity for Belize. That made the results of the deal subject to international arbitration. In 2009 Ashcroft won his case in the London Court of International Arbitration. In 2013, as we have seen, the Caribbean Court of Justice ruled against him. Now that a US District Court has recently ruled in his favor, Ashcroft can apply to the court of any US state to grab any Belizean funds there.
But on February 6 the same US District Court denied Ashcroft a motion to stop Belize from protecting its funds in those state courts. Yet it allows Ashcroft to proceed according to the law of any state to seek Belizean funds without going to the state courts. The government of Belize is now asking that US District Court to honor both the Caribbean Court of Justice decision against Ashcroft, and the Belize Supreme Court’s injunction shielding Belize’s assets. But some say the fact that Belize has approached that US District Court may mean that Belize will have to abide by its decision. Which court will prevail over Belize? We must take this case to the highest court of all.
PRAY WITH US. Father God, You are the Supreme Judge, the Supreme Lawgiver, and the Supreme King. The Constitution of Belize in its very first statement acknowledges Your Supremacy. So we declare that Belize’s former colonial master Britain is not supreme over Belize. Nor is the British Lord Michael Ashcroft. He once lorded it over Belize and milked Belize during decades of exploitation. We repent for Belizean leaders who have given in to his financial pressures and allowed Belize to be plundered. We now declare an end his depredations and to all vestiges of his British supremacy.
Lord God, You see how our Supreme Court has denied his claims to money he never earned here. Our legislature has unanimously voted to shield those funds from him. Our prime minister long ago took back our telecommunications industry from him. So we declare that all demonic forces operating through him have been officially repudiated. We also declare the referral of his court cases to foreign jurisdictions to be illegal. We ask You to enforce our decisions on the US District Court and on all state courts where Ashcroft goes to seize Belizean funds. Do not allow him to raid our poor, needy and debt ridden Belize.
Instead, show Lord Ashcroft that You are Lord and Judge of all the earth. Turn his heart and resources to You and Your purposes. And forgive Belize for mismanaging the goods and finances You have provided. Thank You for paying for all our sins and debts on the cross. Show us Your way out of debt into the abundance that Jesus purchased. Without You this is impossible. But we thank You that with You this is possible, according to the riches of Your grace. In Jesus’ name, amen.
DailyInsight. God shows love in His justice, and justice in His love. The cross, destined before Creation, made that possible (see Rom. 3:19-26).
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