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Jul 1, 2015

Harvest Caye EIA Questioned in Supreme Court

Andrew Marshalleck

Thursday, July second, makes exactly one year since Supreme Court Justice Courtney Abel granted leave for judicial review to the Belize Tourism Industry Association (B.T.I.A.). The B.T.I.A. is challenging the decisions of the Department of the Environment (DOE) and the National Environmental Appraisal Committee (NEAC) to, respectively, approve an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) for Harvest Caye in the south, and recommend that approval without ensuring that the terms of reference of the project had been complied with or that there was enough opportunity for the public to properly consult, comment on and review the EIA. There was a public consultation as required by law but it was limited to environmental concerns only. Harvest Caye, you may recall, is the project created by Norwegian Cruise Lines for a full cruise port and tour base for southern ports of call. It is managed by Belize Island Holdings Limited, which now owns the island.  Arguments began on Tuesday, but the Association’s case suffered a significant setback when immediate past president Herbert Haylock made himself unavailable for testimony although his affidavit was the key underpinning evidence in support of the claim. It left the BTIA scrambling to support the testimony of their expert witness. Current BTIA president Osmany Salas testified after his affidavit was allowed over objections this morning, having only been taken on Tuesday. After he was finished on the stand, Senior Counsel Andrew Marshalleck and Leslie Mendez ended their case and Belize Island Holdings attorney Senior Counsel Eamon Courtenay moved to strike the case, claiming that sufficient evidence had not been presented in support of the claim. However, he was rebuffed by Justice Abel who allowed the case to continue. We spoke with Marshalleck when the arguments concluded late this evening.

 

Andrew Marshalleck, Attorney for B.T.I.A.

“The basis of the application to strike was that sufficient information wasn’t being put forward by Mister Salas and the response was that the information is already before the court in the affidavit from Mister Alegria and from NCL, Murphy. So that with the information being present, we could still go ahead.”

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1 Response for “Harvest Caye EIA Questioned in Supreme Court”

  1. steven says:

    EIA studies are for sale to the highest bidders. Those so called experts will dance to whatever tune you want them to dance. Money determines what the study will say. If you follow the money trail…jeje. it will lead to those will will benefit from the project….This is all a smoke screen…this project has already been given the green light….the monies have already been deposited into the right accounts….a great big scam…….

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