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Jan 13, 2016

G.O.B. Must Pay Costs to B.T.I.A.

Godfrey Smith

As Salas pointed out, the B.T.I.A. at no point sought to stop the project, which is nearing completion. But it is a significant slap-down of government by the Supreme Court, and paves the way for affirmative action if government does not choose to adhere to the procedures in the future. To add insult to injury, Justice Abel ordered that the defendants pay costs of fifty thousand dollars to B.T.I.A.  In the midst of what is often confusing legalese and convoluted judgments, that is clear indication that indeed the B.T.I.A. emerged on top this time.


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

“The B.T.I.A. has made it clear from the beginning. This isn’t about stopping the project. They weren’t trying to stop the project at any point. They didn’t seek injunctions. They were saying to the D.O.E. and to the NEAC follow the procedures. You didn’t follow the procedures. In many cases brought before the Supreme Court you throw in a number of points but there is really one that you are driving at. And they made it very clear, B.T.I.A., that they were not trying to stop the project. Many people misunderstood that for the duration of the case. In fact, when they went to their membership to bring this case the mandate given to the Board of B.T.I.A. buy their membership was to go after the procedure. We are not trying to stop the project. We’re not anti-cruise ship port but we are pro-procedure. Environmental laws must be followed. You’ve heard the Judge. There were breaches of it. This whole case was about public consultation. The developers put out a document. You all were down South. It was rubbished by everybody down South. They put in a substantial addition but didn’t bring it back to the public for consultation. If consultation is meaningful you have to bring it back. The Judge found on all those points. There was failure, but the most important thing is sending a message to D.O.E. with that issue of fifty thousand dollars to be borne. Next time that happens, follow the procedure. Don’t short-circuit the process no matter how big the developer is. That’s really the point of the whole thing.”


Osmany Salas

Osmany Salas, President, B.T.I.A.

“I think the point has to be made that the Court ordering that the Government of Belize bears all cost…to us that is a vindication of our efforts, so we are very pleased with the decision.”


The southern cruise port was to be officially opened on February sixteenth, but there is a delay. 

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