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Jun 7, 2023

Cruise Tourism Development is Mired in Legal Controversy

A public dispute surrounding the signing of a Definitive Agreement between the Government of Belize and Portico Enterprises Limited, in October 2020, has seen a number of sitting and former government officials having a say on the controversial issue.  Beyond the recent comments made by members of the Briceño administration, including the prime minister, himself, are letters that are being filed on behalf of various investors, including the principals of Stake Bank Enterprises.  It’s a messy situation for cruise tourism development in the country, as the fate of the three proposed projects hang in the balance.  Tonight, we hear from Lord Michael Ashcroft in an exclusive interview regarding the state of play in cruise tourism development. 


Michael Ashcroft,

Lord Michael Ashcroft, Belizean Investor

“It’s been very complicated, but do remember this is not just a current event.  This sort of a cruise terminal goes right the way back since Luke Espat owned the port and was negotiating with Carnival and had agreements with Carnival, but it never seems to get off the ground because vested interests then interfere and so then everyone starts to fight and then corruption comes into it.  And then you have the situation down in the south, of Portico, of which had the Definitive Agreement not become public.  This government was trying to pass it into legislation and on full analysis, even the Cabinet started to revolt.  Now I don’t know if you recall many years ago when I had BTL, a little company called INTELCO grew up as a competitor which I believe, and nobody has denied it, had ministerial involvement in INTELCO, and I described that as a pension plan for the boys.  And so my understanding on some of this with the ports, somewhere in all of this is another pension plan for the boys, except I think some of the boys have actually worked out that they are not in on the deal.  But let’s see where it goes.”

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