Michael Feinstein continues court battle to get Stake Bank Project completed

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Updated: June 24, 2015

Michael Feinstein was back in court today in his ongoing legal battle against the Government of Belize. Feinstein launched a lawsuit against the Government, the Belize Tourism Board and the Fort Street Tourism Village with the goal to have his Stake Bank project fully completed without any legal repercussions. The trial began last week and it continued this morning in the court room of Justice Courtenay Abel. A part of the situation has to do with the collection of head tax as explained by Feinstein’s attorney, Senior Counsel Andrew Marshalleck.

SC Andrew Marshalleck, Attorney for Michael Feinstein

“He is seeking a number of declarations as to the unenforceability of a number of provisions in the amended agreement that exists between government and FSTV, governing operations of the Tourism Village.

Reporter:

And that is in relation to the extension which FSTV was given by government?

SC Andrew Marshalleck

“That’s in relation to the agreements that exist now that are governing how things are to work there now. They’re having a hard time identifying the source of authority for imposing such a charge because there is none.”

Reporter

But how does that factor in to what your client is seeking?

SC Andrew Marshalleck

Well, that’s what we’re saying that those provisions that touch and concern that are unenforceable and invalid because the charges are being imposed illegally. They’re being imposed and or by some virtue or some arrangement between BTB, the government and FSTV when the power to tax resides with parliament; it ought to be done by virtue of an appropriate, legislative enactment and that enactment doesn’t exist. If they charge it under or by virtue of an agreement or by  virtue of statue. That’s two different distinct legal basis for the charge. We’re saying that the first legal basis that the provisions in the legal agreement seeking to confer authority to do this is unenforceable.

Reporter

“Now if we could go forward a little bit, if the court finds in favor of your client and grants those declarations, how does that affect the entire FSTV/ Stakebank dynamics?”

SC Andrew Marshalleck:

“Well what it does is governments concern about proceeding with Stake Bank because it would be in breach of a number of these provisions in the agreement. What we are doing is having it declared beforehand ,that they need not be so,  that those particular provisions are in any event unenforceable so that those concerns are really misplaced.”

Reporter

“And that would clear the path for the Stake Bank project?”

SC Andrew Marshalleck:

Yes, to some extent. There’s still other matters to resolve but yes, it goes some way towards that.

Deputy Solicitor General Nigel Hawke and Senior Counsel Rodwell Williams represent the Government and FSTV respectively.