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Jun 24, 2015

Arguments Continue in Feinstein vs. G.O.B./B.T.B./FSTV

Andrew Marshalleck

The Government of Belize, the Fort Street Tourism Village, the Belize Tourism Board and developer Mike Feinstein, or at least their legal representatives, were back in court this morning. Just in the event that you haven’t been following this legal tangle which stretches back for months, claimant Feinstein is seeking a number of declarations as regards the unenforceability of provisions in an agreement which exists between G.O.B. and FSTV, governing the operation of the Tourism Village. This morning, arguments by G.O.B. circulated around the head tax which is one of those provisions being questioned.

 

Andrew Marshalleck, Attorney for Mike Feinstein

“They’re having a hard time identifying the source of the authority for imposing such a charge because there is none.”

 

Reporter

“How does that factor into what your client is seeking?”

 

Andrew Marshalleck

“That’s what we’re saying…that those provisions that touch and concern that are unenforceable and invalid, because the charges are being imposed illegally. They are being imposed by virtue of some arrangement between B.T.B., the Government and FSTV, when the power to tax resides with parliament. It ought to be by virtue of an appropriate legislative enactment, and that enactment doesn’t exist. If they charge it by virtue of an agreement or by virtue of a statute, those are two distinctly different legal bases for the charge. We are saying that the first legal basis, that the provisions in the agreement seeking to confer authority to do this is unenforceable.”

 

Reporter

“Now if we could move forward a bit. If the Court finds in favour of your client and grants those declarations, how does that affect the whole Stake Bank/FSTV dynamic?”

 

Andrew Marshalleck

“Well what it does is Government is concerned with proceeding with Stake Bank because it could be in breach of a number of provisions in the agreement. What we are doing is having the Court declare beforehand that it need not be so…that those particular provisions are in any event unenforceable so that those concerns are really misplaced.”

 

Reporter

“And that would clear the path for the Stake Bank project?”

 

Andrew Marshalleck

“Yes, to some extent. There are still other matters to resolve, but yes it goes some ways towards that.”

 

It is expected that arguments from all parties involved will continue at least until the end of the week.

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