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May 31, 2013

Leader of Opposition weighs in on voided oil contracts

There is increased scrutiny on the onshore drilling case between OCEANA and Government in the wake of the resignation of Vice President of OCEANA Belize Audrey Matura-Shepherd. Government is appealing a ruling by Supreme Court Justice Oswell Legall which declared the contracts between government and six specific oil companies null and void. But pending the result of that appeal, government has applied for the injunction to be lifted. A decision on that application will be delivered by Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin next week, but in the meantime there is some confusion in the interpretation of the injunction. OCEANA says that the injunction bans the oil companies from drilling, but government’s attorney Denys Barrow says NO WAY – he says the injunction binds government, but oil companies are free to drill. This is an issue on which the leader of the opposition also weighed in today.


Francis Fonseca, Leader of the Opposition

“I think that is what senior counsel Denys Barrow was doing. I do not agree with that interpretation, well the injunction was really against the government of Belize. And his interpretation is this prevents the government and I think that government of Belize and I think his interpretation as I understand it was well the injunction was really against the government of Belize and it prevents the government and it prevents the government from engaging in particular activities. I don’t agree with that. I think that the reality is that when presented…in preventing the government from regulating and supervising the injunction consequentially prevents the oil companies from up rating because legally for them to be carrying out their work, they should be supervised and by the movement. And I think a rational government, a responsible government, today, consequentially prevents the persons from operating. And I think a rational government, a responsible government would have made it very clear to the attorneys as well, listen out on an caution, we want you to advice your clients at the earliest and to seize and desist from any further drilling until this matter is determined in court.”



“Do you think the government’s position as stated by the attorney and also his comments bashing justice Legall. Do you think this is a bad precedent?”


Francis Fonseca

“Absolutely, it is a consistent pattern of the government the lawyers as well as the prime minister himself. A consistent pattern of attacking the legal system when they and I reject it.”


Attorneys for OCEANA and interested parties and the Government return to court on Wednesday to hear the decision of the Chief Justice on the application.

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2 Responses for “Leader of Opposition weighs in on voided oil contracts”

  1. Bear says:

    The contract can’t be void for one party, and valid for the other! That’s an “Alice in Wonderland” argument!

    It seems under this GOB you can ignore the court, and nobody needs a contract to drill for oil.

    Time for a change.

  2. Stephen says:

    Why we want to stay poor only those fair skin people that came here can enjoy our natural resources like Spanish lookout. We need to do drilling as if one can see Mexico is drilling in the Caribbean Sean and that is just north of San Pedro so why stopping progress. I bet if it was a community that have lone foreigners there drilling would have commence. We are suffering as all our oil money are mostly benefiting those foreigners. Lets start to think about Belizean and get on with it. BNE was doing great paying over 116 million dollars a year in revenue now that went pretty low due to that incompetent government.

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