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Jun 20, 2023

Court of Appeal Rules in Favor of Stake Bank Enterprises Limited

Late this evening, Stake Bank Enterprises Limited issued a release following a decision handed down by the Court of Appeals.  The company says that it has been vindicated by the ruling of the appellate court. Stake Bank Enterprises Limited had filed a claim before the High Court for Judicial Review against the Government of Belize, the National Environmental Appraisal Committee and the Department of the Environment, in respect of the environmental clearance which was granted in July of 2021 to Portico Enterprises Limited. Justice Lisa Shoman had ruled that the challenge was filed outside of the prescribed fourteen days. Stake Bank Enterprises Limited appealed Justice Shoman’s ruling and today the Court of Appeal ruled that the claim as filed within the prescribed time. As a result, the matter is remitted to the High Court for determination as to whether NEAC and D.O.E.’s grant of environmental clearance to Portico was lawful. We spoke with Williams Lindo, Co-Counsel for Stake Bank Enterprises Limited about today’s ruling.


William Lindo

William Lindo, Co-Counsel, Stake Bank Enterprises Limited

“Today’s hearing was the hearing of Stake Bank’s appeal challenging the decision of Justice Shoman in which she ruled, I believe it was sometime last year, she ruled in favor of the government’s application to strike out Stake Bank’s judicial review challenge on a technicality that it was supposedly filed outside of the prescribed fourteen-day period.  The Court of Appeal agreed with our arguments and set aside the decision of Justice Shoman which now means that the challenge to Portico’s Environmental Clearance is now a live matter before the High Court. The significance of the ruling is that there remain a live challenge in the court as to whether the Environmental Clearance granted by the Department of Environment on the recommendation of the National Environmental Appraisal Committee whether that clearance was valid and the main bone of contention was look, DOE you had a duty to consult with Stake Bank because the grant of your clearance threaten their economic interest. The Definitive Agreement came to light after the case was filed. Certainly if we had had that evidence before we would have used it to show that look, the Definitive or “Definative” Agreement showed some improper motive or bad faith on the part of government which explained why the Environmental Clearance process was rushed and why we say that the Environmental Impact Assessment regulations were not followed.”


Stake Bank Enterprises Limited issued a release in which it warns the Government of Belize to “refrain from any further negotiation/s with PEL since a live and formidable challenge to their ECP is back in the High Courts of Belize”.

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