Stake Bank Enterprises Limited Wins Appeal in Environmental Clearance Case Against Government of Belize
Stake Bank Enterprises Limited (SBEL) got some good news today when Belize’s Court of Appeal when it was declared that Stake Bank did file its claim for judicial review within the prescribed time. The matter had to be taken to appeal after Justice Lisa Shoman ruled otherwise. SBEL’s claim for Judicial Review is against the Government of Belize (Attorney General (AG), the National Environmental Appraisal Committee (NEAC) and the Department of the Environment (DOE) in respect of the environmental clearance which was granted in July of 2021 to Portico. With this ruling, the matter will go back to the High Court for determination as to whether NEAC and DOE’s grant of environmental clearance was lawful. Stake Bank issued a release on the ruling, saying, quote, “This was one more hurdle SBEL had to clear and therefore today’s verdict should be seen as a significant victory. SBEL continues to experience overt and covert attempt at undermining its economic interest to the ultimate detriment of the hundreds of Belizean currently employed on this project. This latest verdict against GOB is very significant because the substantive case seeks to quash the Environmental Clearance Plan (ECP) entered into between DOE and Portico Enterprise Limited (PEL) on April 9, 2021, which is six (6) months after the much maligned “Definative” Agreement was signed on October 1, 2020.” This ruling will put a wrench in Government’s plan to renegotiate the agreement, and in convincing Royal Caribbean to do business with Port of Magical. It is one part of the Portico Saga whose end seems nowhere in sight. We will keep following the developments.