Leader of the Opposition Demands Prime Minister’s Resignation Over Alleged Deception in Portico Agreement
Leader of the Opposition, Moses Shyne Barrow, has issued yet another press release calling for Prime Minister John Briceno to resign. The call for his resignation is based on Barrow’s claim that the Prime Minister had lied to the Belizean people as it relates to the Portico Agreement. In his release, Barrow says from the mere fact that the Prime Minister had received legal advice from King’s Counsel Ben Juratowich, and still had the document tabled in Cabinet for approval, is damning. Barrow says it is a bombshell revelation, especially after that legal advice issued on April 20, 2023, confirmed that the Definitive Agreement was illegal and unenforceable. He further noted that, “the dubious attempt by John Briceno to obfuscate and lay blame at the former Minister that illegally signed the Portico agreement without accepting his culpability has been completely exposed. All Belizeans now have irrefutable evidence that John Briceno knew the Portico Definitive Agreement was illegal and unenforceable yet committed Nonfeasance by not taking immediate action to notify the public as to the contents of the Portico Agreement and its illegality, instead Briceno proceeded to aggravate his initial offense by committing Misfeasance recommending the Agreement to Cabinet for approval and legislation until some members of the Cabinet that were not a part of the pension plan for the boys revolted and leaked the confidential Cabinet brief to the media that ignited the unraveling of the Portico scandal that will soon face a Senate Inquiry.” End of quote. As we have reported in a previous newscast, the timeline of how things unfolded regarding the legal advice from Juratowich and the tabling of the document in Cabinet, does bring about some suspicions, and questions regarding the intention of the government as it relates to the Definitive Agreement. Since the leak of these documents to the public, Prime Minister John Briceno, has gone on public record to say that they believe the Port of Magical is the preferred development, and that the government will be seeking a new agreement with Portico Enterprises. As a matter of fact, just this week, the government issued a press release, confirming their position with Portico Enterprises, and as recent as this morning, Prime Minister Briceno spoke on the matter.
Hon. John Briceño, Prime Minister of Belize: “You’re flogging a dead horse. The important thing is that the Government Belize we have decided that the definitive agreement we’ve torn up and we’re doing something totally different. So you could cover a hundred different opinions, it does not matter. What matters is that we are doing now a new agreement, hopefully a new piece of legislation that will spell out how development of different sizes is going to be done in the future so that no future developer has to go to any government. They know that if there is this scope of an investment, that this is going to be what you can get as a development concession. If the government believes that it is an important project, which we do, even Channel 7 believes it is an important project, of course we have to work with them to ensure that they can be able to get access to it. They have not applied, but I’m certain that the Minister, the DPM, will give it some serious consideration because without that we cannot have the project.”