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Jan 12, 2023

Who Will Make Up the Tribunal to Review D.O.E.’s Decision on Waterloo Project?

So the decision will go to a tribunal. As we’re reported, the Belize Chamber of Commerce and Industry has said that its representative on NEAC, although absent, had voted in favour of the project back in late November. The Business Senator will have a seat on the tribunal. A judge will also be included and then the ministry is to appoint an environmental expert. The decision of the tribunal, whenever it convenes, is final and can, by a simple majority, overturn the decision of the Department of Environment. But is there a conflict of interest?


Orlando Habet

Orlando Habet, Minister of Sustainable Development, Climate Change & Disaster Risk Management

“From the environmental side, we have to get somebody who is a professional with a lot of experience. What the law doesn’t say if it has to be local or it can be somebody international. From my interpretation, it is open so we can bring somebody from Australia, from England, from the U.S. that is a professional in the field.”



“That will be your person though, but when it comes to the business person, it has to be the senator and in this case, we are learning that the senator is the brother of the local consultant for the entire project. So should that person be removed or should that person recuse themselves?”


Orlando Habet

“I wouldn’t be able to comment on whether or not they should. It would be something that the chamber, if that’s their nomination, will have to make a decision on so that then they can have that type of transparency with the public and then also the senator if he decides that he wants to recuse himself, then the same business community to nominate someone else. But for that then it would have to be a senator so that makes it a narrow time for a replacement.”



“What about your person or the person that you nominate? How far are you to selecting that person?”


Orlando Habet

“We have been looking at some of the professionals within Belize and trying to make certain that they have no affiliation with the company, the EIA or that they are involved in some way or the other – employed, family members or otherwise. But we are also looking regionally and extra-regionally to see if we can get professionals in the field that would be able to serve the purpose for hopefully making the decision that they should make. Of course, from the government side, it has been rejected, so you want people who are professionals, who have that type of experience especially in the area of the marine side to be able to come up with a decision to help to guide or at least contribute positively to the deliberations that the tribunal will have.”


Minister Habet says that within a month or so, they are expecting to select its representative on the tribunal.

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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