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May 5, 2014

B.T.I.A. sues G.O.B. over NCL project

Godfrey Smith

The Norwegian Cruise Line tourism development project in southern Belize is running into yet another obstacle. That’s because, the Belize Tourism Industry Association, through Senior Counsel Godfrey Smith, has proceeded with legal action against government, particularly the Department of the Environment, as well as the National Environmental Appraisal Committee.  B.T.I.A. is seeking a judicial review by the Supreme Court, following the approval of an environmental impact assessment relating to the Harvest Caye development project, a fifty-million dollar tourism initiative to be constructed by Norwegian Cruise Line.  B.T.I.A. contends that there are a number of procedural oversights pertaining to the E.I.A. and, despite a letter being written to Chief Environmental Officer Martin Alegria regarding those issues, their concerns have gone unanswered.  In stepping up its efforts to ensure that the regulations under the existing environmental laws are being followed, B.T.I.A. is asking for an official re-examination of NEAC’s decision.

 

Godfrey Smith, Attorney for B.T.I.A.

“The challenge will be based on decisions reached by NEAC, as well as decisions reached by the Department of the Environment.  In relation to NEAC, certainly, without going into all the details of it, the essence of what we are saying, the essence of what we are challenging is the decision of the NEAC to not recommend a public hearing in relation to this matter, in circumstances where we believe the law requires a public hearing and we will be challenging the fact that in breach of the regulations or environmental laws, the required publication and notice requirements were not met.  I shall not list all of those, suffice it to say that at the end of the day when one examines what transpired in relation to the publication of notice of the addendum and the time given to respond to it, what we are left with is a clear picture that it was severely, drastically truncated with the effect that it made a mockery of precisely what the intention of the law was.  You circulate, you publicize the EIA [Environmental Impact Assessment] and its addendum.  The addendum is part of the EIA, without the addendum it’s not a complete EIA.  So it doesn’t matter whether it’s called the addendum or the EIA, all of it must have been properly circulated, proper notice must have been given with the objective of having members of the public comment and express their views.  Not because B.T.I.A. wants that or anybody wants it, but because the National Assembly of Belize has enacted legislation that says this is the way it ought to be.”

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3 Responses for “B.T.I.A. sues G.O.B. over NCL project”

  1. Joe Blank says:

    How many lawyers does Belize have? Maybe 10? LOL! We see the same fat cats circling the wagons day and night. If there are more than the same circus parade I see all the time, the rest of you are really lame!

  2. Timber says:

    I’m not against expansion nor development but people of Belize, inspect this deal CAREFULLY! Know the pros and cons , the impact upon our environment, economy and who will be profiting from this deal. Find out who are the players in this and their intentions.

  3. H@tari says:

    Once again, a straight up challenge to the GOB. Just play by the rules! Do what the people elected you to do. Listen to the people . . . it’s not that difficult. But then you must test your own morality.

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