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Mar 2, 2023

A Tribunal to Review D.O.E.’s Decision on Waterloo Project

The Ministry of Sustainable Development has established a tribunal to review the decision of the Department of Environment’s decision regarding the Port of Belize Expansion and Cruise Tourism project.  As we reported in late 2022, Department of the Environment did not grant environmental clearance to Waterloo Investment Holdings Limited for the Port Expansion and Cruise Tourism Project and an appeal was subsequently filed.  The newly formed tribunal is comprised of Madame Justice Patricia Farnese, a high court judge who will serve as chairperson, Lucy Fleming, a private Sector representative with extensive expertise in the business sector, particularly the tourism sector, and Professor Terrance Hughes, a science expert with academic knowledge and training in environment and natural resources management.  Of note is that Fleming has published articles in local newspapers, particularly the San Pedro Sun expressing her views on Belize as a cruise port.  Professor Hughes has also shared his position on dredging in the past.  Back in January, we spoke with Minister of Sustainable Development Orlando Habet about the tribunal.


Orlando Habet

Orlando Habet, Minister of Sustainable Development, Climate Change & Disaster Risk Management [File: January 12th, 2023]

“We have to follow the regulation and the regulation calls for the formation of the tribunal – one person coming as a magistrate that is selected by the chief magistrate or a justice coming from the Supreme Court. The second person being the senator responsible for business and the third would be one person who is a professional in the environmental field, ecology as a person nominated or assigned by the minister responsible for sustainable development.”



“Sir, do you think the law needs to be changed though because people are saying well you have a three-member tribunal being able to overturn the decision of sixteen people who are actually experts? Will this be a public hearing, public deliberation of this tribunal?”


Orlando Habet

“I wouldn’t be able to tell if it is public because based on section twenty-seven, if you follow through, it also tells you that the tribunal will form its own proceedings, will guide itself with their own principles and proceedings. So we don’t know if they will say it is going to be a public hearing or not or if it will be in closed quarters. But certainly in regards to the legislation and I have heard the concerns that you have fourteen or fifteen members of NEAC going through this assessment, coming from professionals in the field and some administrators, and then you put it to a three-person 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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