Ya’axche Loses to Ministry of Forests At CCJ
The Caribbean Court of Justice handed down a six-page decision today in respect of an application by the Ya’axche Conservation Trust which sought special leave to appeal a March fourteenth decision by the Belize Court of Appeal. The C.C.J. refused the application ruling that the N.G.O. had failed to meet the required threshold to proceed with its case. Ya’axche started proceedings against Forest Officer, Wilbur Sabido after he granted a permit to Belize Hydroelectric Development and Management Company back in October 2009 to conduct hydro-electric feasibility studies on four miles of Central River within the Bladen Branch Nature Reserve. As co-manager of the reserve, the Trust contended that the issue of the permit was contrary to the National Parks System Act which protects the biological and ecological features of designated areas. Ya’axche also sought to move the C.C.J. to determine that the permit was invalid even though by the time of litigation, the license had expired. In its ruling, the C.C.J. said that while it was an academic appeal, it considered it because of the importance of protecting and preserving the environment. Furthermore, the C.C.J. found that the Court of Appeal had not erred in its assessment of the powers of the Chief Forest Officer in granting the permit. Interestingly, at the time Ya’axche went to court, the N.G.O. was headed by Lisel Alamilla. She is now the Minister responsible for Forests and Wilbur Sabido is still the Chief Forest Officer.