Stake Bank Enterprise, the parent company for Port Coral, suffered another loss in the Supreme Court today when Justice Lisa Shoman dismissed an application brought before the bench seeking leave for appeal in a decision that she handed down several weeks ago. That matter had to do with an application for judicial review of an Environmental Compliance Plan granted to Portico, parent company of Port of Magical Belize, by the National Environmental Appraisal Committee, NEAC. When the claim was dismissed on the grounds that the files were not submitted within the fourteen-day period allowed by the court; the claimant, represented by Glenn D. Godfrey and Company, sought permission to appeal that decision. Attorney Hector Guerra who represents Waterloo, as an interested party, spoke with News Five this afternoon.

Hector Guerra, Attorney-at-law

"Back in July, Stake Bank had filed an application seeking to challenge the Department of the Environment's decision to grant Portico Enterprises and ECP, an environmental compliance plan. They said that it was unlawful and that Portico did not meet the statutory requirements in order to grant an ECP. Later on, our clients which include Waterloo applied to be joined to these proceedings. Our clients were successful. The court eventually granted Stake Bank permission to bring its claim and the condition of that permission was that it file its claim form within fourteen days of the permission. Stake Bank did not meet that requirement, it did not file its claim form electronically within the required fourteen-day period. As a result, our client along with others, including Portico and the Government of Belize also filed applications to have Stake Bank's claim struck out. That application earlier this year was successful. Justice Lisa Shoman agreed to strikeout Stake Bank's claim, so that culminated with the judge refusing to grant leave to Stake Bank to appeal that decision."

Will Stake Bank Appeal Latest Supreme Court Decision?

Guerra also spoke of the possibility that the latest decision of the Supreme Court may be appealed yet again by Stake Bank Enterprise.

Hector Guerra, Attorney-at-law

"The primary reason was that the judge felt that Stake Bank did not have a realistic prospect of success. The entire reason leave to appeal is necessary is because the court is trying to strike out busy-bodies, et cetera. Stake Bank's principal contention was that the practice directions which address electronic filing was beyond the scope of civil procedure rules so that it was unlawful. That's what they were saying. Our position was that that is not so. We said that what the practice direction was doing was seeking to fill a gap which was not, prior to that point, addressed which was electronic filing. And that was in fact necessary because, and it was passed, I believe, in the last two years because of the COVID pandemic. There was a need for the registry to continue filing court documents and for justice to continue and so that's why the Chief Justice found it necessary to issue the practice direction."

Isani Cayetano
"Is there any likelihood that Stake Bank may very well appeal this particular decision?"

Hector Guerra
"Of course. As is available to every litigant, until you reach the CCJ, there is a right to appeal and I am sure that is something that is being contemplated by Stake Bank at this moment."

Channel 5