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Jul 28, 2021

More Questions than Answers for Stake Bank Caye

Stake Bank and the Port of Magical Belize will face off in the Supreme Court on September thirtieth, following leave being granted earlier this week for Port Coral to file application for judicial review.  But while that legal matter is several weeks away from being heard, News Five has been combing through an Environmental Compliance Plan for the Stake Bank project that was completed in August 2017.  There is more information being revealed from our look at the twenty-two page document.  Here is News Five’s Isani Cayetano.



Isani Cayetano, Reporting

When ground was broken for construction to begin at Stake Bank in February 2019, developer Michael Feinstein did not foresee that another competitor would be seeking to build a similar cruise terminal less than twelve miles away.  With permission being granted for the Port of Magical Belize to be built on the mainland not far from the Sibun River, the principals for both facilities have been locked in a legal battle.  On Monday, Justice Lisa Shoman granted leave for Port Coral to file an application for judicial review to determine whether government acted lawfully in approving an Environmental Impact Assessment, as well as an Environmental Compliance Plan to Portico, the parent company for Port of Magical Belize.  In the wake of that decision, a number of questions are being raised in respect of Port Coral’s compliance with its ECP.  The Environmental Compliance Plan requires that all developers must conform to environmental laws, regulations, standards and other requirements such as site permits to operate.  The ECP under which Stake Bank is operating stipulates, quote, that no further development will take place outside of what has been proposed there without the prior written permission of the Department of the Environment, unquote.  The contract or definitive agreement between Stake Bank Enterprises Limited and the Government of Belize states that Feinstein and his company agreed to limit ancillary developments for the use and entertainment of tourists on the island to sixteen acres.  The ECP only limits the expansion of Stake Bank by two acres, however, from an aerial perspective, it appears that the island has expanded considerably.  When imposed on the existing map, a previous geographic diagram illustrating the size of the island indicates that it has indeed expanded due to further developments.  Has Stake Bank Enterprises Limited obtained written permission for this expansion?

Likewise, a sixty-six foot reserve is part of the requirement under the ECP, however, it appears that a number of structures have been erected within that buffer.  Has written permission been sought and obtained from the Department of the Environment and the Lands and Survey Department?  Has there been any consideration for long-term monitoring of sedimentation and erosions, and have these results, if any, been submitted to the Department of the Environment and the Geology Department?  News Five attempted to get in touch with Chief Environmental Officer Martin Alegria today but our efforts were futile.  These, nonetheless, are just a few questions being raised having perused the twenty-two page document that is the Environmental Compliance Plan for Stake Bank Caye.  The ECP was approved in August 2017. Reporting for News Five, I am Isani Cayetano.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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