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Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 84,398
Marty Offline OP
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An application for judicial review, filed on behalf of Stake Bank Enterprise Ltd. by Glenn D. Godfrey and Company, was struck out on a technicality in the Supreme Court earlier today. The matter was brought before Justice Lisa Shoman and sought to review government legislation in respect of an Environmental Compliance Plan approved by the National Environmental Appraisal Committee, NEAC. The E.C.P. was granted to Portico Enterprise, the parent company of Port of Magical Belize, and the approval process would have been challenged by Stake Bank Enterprise had the claim been filed within the prescribed fourteen-day window. As it turns out, the claimants failed to do so. Attorneys Andrew Bennett and David Morales appeared on behalf of Portico, they explain what transpired in court.

Andrew Bennett, Attorney-at-law

"On the thirteenth of January of this year we had filed an application for the substantive claim to be struck out and that matter was heard this afternoon. Her ladyship Justice Shoman delivered her judgment and the claim is now struck out."

Isani Cayetano

"In short, what was the merit upon which this particular argument was premised, on your end?"

Andrew Bennett

"Judicial review proceedings are distinct from ordinary civil claims. Once you get leave to file a claim for judicial review, it's conditional; you have to file that within fourteen days. If you don't, it lapses. That makes any claim, any claim form that is filed after that invalid and that is premised on established law and today this is a landmark decision because it will not only be a decision but it is one with reasons. If you would go back, there was the Oceana case. There was a similar order made but it didn't have reasons, so now in Belize we, litigants, practitioners, we would be guided by this decision."

Isani Cayetano

"What does this now mean for your client in terms of perhaps continuing with the effort to develop a cruise terminal, Port of Magical Belize?"

Andrew Bennett

"Well what it does is, on the ninth of April 2021, the environmental clearance and the environmental compliance plan was executed by our clients. You had that cloud over those two documents because that was the subject matter of this substantive claim. What it means now is that that cloud is now removed and our clients can now continue. They were never impeded, there was never any injunction so worked continued but it just means that the cloud is now removed and we are happy with the judgment."

David Morales, Attorney-at-law

"This is a sound judgment based on sound principles of law, case law that supported the judgment and I think Justice Shoman was quite correct to say that, you know what, it was a difficult case to deal with because it's based on a technicality but it's a sound judgment so we're not phased about a Court of Appeal case [or a] C.C.J. appeal because it's going to be in our favor in any event because it is a sound judgment."

Waterloo's Attorney Speaks on Stake Bank Matter Being Tossed Out

Appearing on behalf of Waterloo and two other interested parties was Marine Parade Chambers. Senior Counsel Godfrey Smith and Hector Guerra were also in court today. Following the ruling, attorney Guerra spoke with the media via Zoom.

Hector Guerra, Attorney-at-law

"The A.G. filed a claim to strike. Our clients, Waterloo, along with our other clients and Portico also filed an application to strike, but because the government is the substantive defendant in this matter, they were allowed to move their application and the interested parties which included Portico and Waterloo were given permission to buttress the government's arguments in terms of the strikeout application that was being moved by the government. In its reasoning the court carefully detailed the fact that the rules as they now stand do not permit, do not grant the court the discretion to extend the period and so really, it's a really strict rule but , nonetheless, it's a rule that's in application today and that should be complied with."

Channel 5

Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 84,398
Marty Offline OP
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Stake Bank Seeks to Appeal Dismissal of Judicial Review

This afternoon, inside the courtroom of Justice Lisa Shoman, attorneys for Stake Bank Enterprise Ltd. sought leave to appeal a decision that was handed down by the Supreme Court on March third. An application for judicial review that sought to scrutinize government legislation in respect of an Environmental Compliance Plan had been struck out based on a technicality when the claimants failed to file their paperwork within the prescribed fourteen-day period. The E.C.P. which had been approved by the National Environmental Appraisal Committee, NEAC, was granted to Portico Enterprise, the parent company of Port of Magical Belize.� Portico and Waterloo are both interested parties in the suit that has been brought by Stake Bank against the Government of Belize and NEAC. Following today's session, News Five spoke with attorney Hector Guerra who represents Waterloo.

Hector Guerra, Attorney-at-law

"So today was set for the hearing of Stake Bank's application, seeking leave to appeal.� In layman's terms, Stake Bank is seeking to appeal a decision of the Justice Shoman which saw their claim for judicial review struck out because they failed to comply with filing their claim within a fourteen-day period from when they got permission to bring their claim."

Isani Cayetano

"So what are we looking at now in terms of what is being set before the parties?"

Hector Guerra

"So today, Justice Shoman set timelines for all parties to file submissions, written submissions at the behest of our clients to allow us to be given an opportunity to be heard and after doing that, she set a trial [date], well the hearing of the substantive application for the thirtieth of May."

Isani Cayetano

"Has there been a change in the representation of the various parties? I notice that Senior Counsel [Andrew] Marshalleck was present in the session earlier."

Hector Guerra :

"So Senior Counsel Marshalleck has now joined Stake Bank's legal team and so he is now leading the charge for Stake Bank."

Channel 5

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