Lord Ashcroft Sues the GOB
Lord Ashcroft has filed a lawsuit against the government of Belize. It has to do with the recent changes made to the EIA regulations. Ashcroft, who is the Chairman of Waterloo Investment Holdings Limited, says that the amendment is unreasonable and unfair, as it allows for someone else to be appointed in place of the business senator on the appeal tribunal that reviews decisions made by the National Environmental Appraisal Committee.
Belize High Court Justice Patricia Farnese, Australian professor Terry Hughes, and Lucy Fleming for the private sector were appointed by Minister Habet. Waterloo claims that these appointments were made in bad faith and for an improper purpose. Waterloo’s attorney, Senior Counsel Godfrey Smith, filed a claim on March 16, requesting that Statutory Instrument 23 of 2023 be declared as promulgated in bad faith and for the improper purpose of placing Waterloo at a disadvantage.
The attorney further calls for a declaration that the amendment has breached Waterloo’s rights and constitutes an arbitrary and unfair exercise of power by the state. Waterloo is opposing the appointments of Hughes and Flemming. The application calls for Hughes’ appointment to be declared an abuse of power, done in bad faith, and for an improper purpose. Waterloo alleges that Fleming has publicly opposed the development of the cruise ship industry in Belize, and Professor Hughes is on record opposing dredging and developments near reefs. As a result, Waterloo has called for a declaration that the tribunal, as currently composed, is tainted with bias, and for Section 2 of the regulations to be overturned.