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Jun 1, 2023

Portico Responds to Shyne’s Comments on Definitive Agreement

The principals of Portico Enterprises Limited have been rather tightlipped on criticisms regarding the Definitive Agreement signed with the Government of Belize in October 2020.  Since the issue resurfaced last week, the parent company for Port of Magical Belize has not responded to comments made by the United Democratic Party, including Chairman Michael Peyrefitte.  Tonight, Portico has issued a statement strongly denying allegations of corruption put forward by Opposition Leader Shyne Barrow during an interview with the media on Tuesday.  The release goes on to say, “Portico has acquired in excess of one thousand acres of land for the development of Port of Magical Belize.  None of these lands belonged to Ambassador Haisam Diab, or any person related to him.  Portico has no intention to purchase any other property in that vicinity and it is not aware that Ambassador Diab owns any property in that area.  Secondly, Morales Peyrefitte LLP, of which Senator Michael Peyrefitte was a partner along with Mister David Morales, was the only firm of attorneys initially retained by Portico after its incorporation. Upon the dissolution of that Morales Peyrefitte, LLP, Portico retained the law firm of Morales and Co., which was founded by Mr. Morales. However, let this release set on record that it was the firm of Morales Peyrefitte LLP which drafted the Definitive Agreement with the government. Morales Peyrefitte LLP not only assisted Portico with its applications for the various permits and licenses that were required for the project but also ensured that Portico satisfied all legal requirements upon making such applications.  Even after Mister Peyrefitte was no longer in government, but still a partner with the firm, Morales Peyrefitte LLP assisted in securing the Environmental Compliance Plan which was a condition precedent to the Definitive Agreement.  Morales Peyrefitte LLP was also instrumental in advising the Department of Environment that Stake Bank had multiple infractions to the ECP, including the non-payment of its monitoring fee which was in excess of eight hundred thousand dollars at that time.  We have been advised that to date, the monitoring fee remains outstanding.  Based on the foregoing, it is mischievous of the Leader of the Opposition to pose a whimsical question when he asked whether Courtenay Coye LLP was the long-time firm of Portico.  For the sake of clarity, the answer is no”.  On his end, Opposition Leader Shyne Barrow has also written to the Ombudsman requesting an investigation of Prime Minister John Briceño for presenting the Definitive Agreement to Cabinet on May twenty-third.

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