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Mar 3, 2022

Stake Bank Application for Judicial Review is Struck Out

An application for judicial review, filed on behalf of Stake Bank Enterprise Ltd. by Glenn D. Godfrey and Company, was struck out on a technicality in the Supreme Court earlier today. The matter was brought before Justice Lisa Shoman and sought to review government legislation in respect of an Environmental Compliance Plan approved by the National Environmental Appraisal Committee, NEAC. The E.C.P. was granted to Portico Enterprise, the parent company of Port of Magical Belize, and the approval process would have been challenged by Stake Bank Enterprise had the claim been filed within the prescribed fourteen-day window. As it turns out, the claimants failed to do so. Attorneys Andrew Bennett and David Morales appeared on behalf of Portico, they explain what transpired in court.


Andrew Bennett

Andrew Bennett, Attorney-at-law

“On the thirteenth of January of this year we had filed an application for the substantive claim to be struck out and that matter was heard this afternoon. Her ladyship Justice Shoman delivered her judgment and the claim is now struck out.”


Isani Cayetano

“In short, what was the merit upon which this particular argument was premised, on your end?”


Andrew Bennett

“Judicial review proceedings are distinct from ordinary civil claims. Once you get leave to file a claim for judicial review, it’s conditional; you have to file that within fourteen days. If you don’t, it lapses. That makes any claim, any claim form that is filed after that invalid and that is premised on established law and today this is a landmark decision because it will not only be a decision but it is one with reasons. If you would go back, there was the Oceana case. There was a similar order made but it didn’t have reasons, so now in Belize we, litigants, practitioners, we would be guided by this decision.”


Isani Cayetano

“What does this now mean for your client in terms of perhaps continuing with the effort to develop a cruise terminal, Port of Magical Belize?”


Andrew Bennett

“Well what it does is, on the ninth of April 2021, the environmental clearance and the environmental compliance plan was executed by our clients. You had that cloud over those two documents because that was the subject matter of this substantive claim. What it means now is that that cloud is now removed and our clients can now continue. They were never impeded, there was never any injunction so worked continued but it just means that the cloud is now removed and we are happy with the judgment.”


David Morales

David Morales, Attorney-at-law

“This is a sound judgment based on sound principles of law, case law that supported the judgment and I think Justice Shoman was quite correct to say that, you know what, it was a difficult case to deal with because it’s based on a technicality but it’s a sound judgment so we’re not phased about a Court of Appeal case [or a] C.C.J. appeal because it’s going to be in our favor in any event because it is a sound judgment.”

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