Chairman of Waterloo Investment Holdings Limited, Michael Ashcroft, in a letter dated January 10, 2022, wrote to Prime Minister John Briceno regarding Waterloo’s investments, particularly the “Cargo Expansion and Construction of Cruise Terminal and Cruise Tourism Village” project. In the letter, Lord Ashcroft first notifies the Prime Minister of a “dispute and claim under the Agreement between the Government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the Government of Belize for the Promotion and Protection of Investments 1982 (the “UK-Belize BIT”). Lord Ashcroft tells Briceno that. The cruise and cargo ship expansion project in the Port of Belize has been on the table for discussion for quite some time. The project was denied after its Environmental Impact Assessment was rejected in December of 2021 by the National Environmental Appraisal Committee (NEAC) for several reasons, one of which is due to the lack of sufficient consultations with persons living in the area. In his letter to Briceno, Ashcroft says that the grounds given by NEAC for refusing to give environmental clearance are irrational, unfair and inequitable. Lord Ashcroft ends his letter by stating that GOB is invited to amicably settle the above dispute under the UK-Belize BIT. As prescribed therein, in the event that no amicable settlement is reached within three months of the date of this letter, the Investors will be entitled to submit this dispute to international arbitration.” We asked the Prime Minister for an update.
John Briceño, Prime Minister of Belize: “Anybody has the right to be able to ask for arbitration. That’s your constitutional right. They said that they are going to do that. We are prepared if they were to proceed but as far as I know, they have not proceeded with any actual action.”