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Supreme Court Rules in Favor of Government of Belize Against Stake Bank

Stake Bank Enterprises has been ordered to pay the Government of Belize, after their claim to the Supreme Court was not accepted. Stake Bank had filed an application to the courts to bring NEAC’s approval for Portico’s Port of Magic under judicial review. That claim, however, was put on hold when the Government submitted a counterclaim, stating that Stake Bank Enterprises did not meet the required application deadline. It is a case that had multiple interested parties including Waterloo and the Belize Cruise Development Limited, represented by Senior Counsel Godfrey Smith and Attorney Hector Guerra. Following the ruling handed down today by Justice Lisa Shoman, Attorney Guerra gave the media a brief on the case.

Hector Guerrera, Attorney-AT-Law: This claim really is about a claim being brought forth by Stake Bank in which it seeks to judicially review the Department of the Environment’s decision to grant Portico an environmental clearance plan. So today’s hearing had to do particularly with an application filed by the attorney general’s ministry seeking to strike out Stake Bank’s claim because it had failed to file it’s claim within a mandated 14 day period from the date on which it received permission to commence the judicial review proceedings. The court today ruled that a document is not filed, or at least it’s deemed to be filed until a party receives back a stamped copy of that electronic document saying ‘’look it’s been filed and it has the date.’ The evidence before the court showed that the document was filed until the 13th when the deadline would have been the 10th of August 2021. It brings the matter to an end for now.”

Reporter: And cost?

Hector Guerrera, Attorney-AT-Law: Costs were awarded in the government’s favour because as I mentioned, they were the party moving the application.”
The claim against Stake Bank was brought forth by the Office of the Attorney General, the National Environmental Appraisal Committee (NEAC) and the Department of the Environment with legal representation by Samantha Matute-Tucker and Jorge Matus. Stake Bank Enterprises was represented by Senior Counsel Glen D Godfrey and William Lindo Junior. The other interested party were Portico Enterprises represented by Attorneys Andrew Bennett and David Morales.