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Jun 14, 2013

OCEANA says G.O.B. refuses to accept ruling of court

Audrey Matura-Shepherd

The Ministry of Energy, Science and Technology and Public Utilities it’s in its own battle with OCEANA Belize. On Thursday, the ministry sent out a release responding to a recent statement issued by OCEANA on a Supreme Court decision in which the validity of several offshore oil contracts, granted to six companies under the previous administration, were challenged.  Despite the ruling being in favor of OCEANA, government has gone on record to say that the organization continues to put a spin on the judgment which makes specific pronouncements against the ministry and not the oil companies involved.  According to the release, Justice Oswell Legall, in his verdict, refused to cancel the existing oil exploration contracts, contrary to OCEANA’s interpretation of what the decision means.  News Five spoke with Audrey Matura-Shepherd earlier today and she provided clarity on what the judgment entails.


Audrey Matura-Shepherd, Vice President, Oceana in Belize

“What is happening here is that the government and their attorneys refuse to accept the ruling and so have sought to find their own interpretation and when you’re in a situation like that what you need to do is to go back to the courts.  Let the courts issue a declaration as to the interpretation or go challenge that ruling.  I really feel a bit embarrassed to think that I have to be going through this back and forth with senior, seasoned attorneys.  In this case, Senior Counsel Denys Barrow has sat on the bench as a Court of Appeal judge and so he understands the importance of going to the Court of Appeal to dispute all the things he has been saying.  So, you have a different interpretation [then] let’s go to the court.  I had never wanted to argue any of our cases as though we have a public court but of course I think [that] at the same time I would not want people to be misled as to what these rulings mean.  I can give you copious examples as to what it means and can respond directly to some of the assertions and the first one I will say is that they’re saying, “look this ruling does not affect the oil company.”  They’re actually saying that the declaration is not against the oil company, it’s only against the government.  So, that’s only one part of the ruling.  The court held that the contract is unlawful, null and void.  A contract can only be between two parties [and] for it to be valid it has to be valid on both sides.  What they are telling is that look, there is this contract and the piece that is the government piece is unlawful, null and void but the piece that is the oil companies’ piece is not unlawful, null and void.  Now common sense, basic common sense, no legal training will tell you that that is impossible.  For there to be a legally binding contract two parties would have had to have acted lawfully.  It’s simply that.  Let’s go to the Court of Appeal and settle it.  If my position is wrong I can live with that but for now that is what the ruling is and you have to respect it, it’s as simple as that.”

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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1 Response for “OCEANA says G.O.B. refuses to accept ruling of court”

  1. Belizean says:

    It isnt simple, and by the way, please get out, Im tired of this court nonesense

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