HomeFeaturedStake Bank Sues GOB for $178M; Why was It a Secret?

Stake Bank Sues GOB for $178M; Why was It a Secret?

Stake Bank Sues GOB for $178M; Why was It a Secret?

A lawsuit involving the Government of Belize was filed by the principals of Stake Bank last August in which they are seeking one hundred and seventy-eight million dollars in special damages.  The claim was brought against G.O.B. after developer Michael Feinstein said he lost significant potential revenue when government entered into the definitive agreement with Portico Enterprises Limited.  But why has the matter been kept on the hush, despite the significant sum being sought by Stake Bank?  We begin our newscast tonight with a look at the claim and how it all came to be.  Here’s News Five’s Isani Cayetano.


Isani Cayetano, Reporting

When ground was broken by the principals of Stake Bank Enterprise Ltd. in February 2019, it was with a plan that the tourism development project on the twenty-five acre island which bears the namesake of the company, would have been completed within a few years.  That was five years ago.  Since then, the location has been transformed from a barren island just a few miles off the coast of Belize City, to a construction site that is largely developed but unfinished.



In August 2017, Michael Feinstein and Stake Bank Enterprise Ltd. entered into a definitive agreement with the Government of Belize that allowed the company to build and operate the Stake Bank project, otherwise known as Port Coral.  That contract would remain fixed for a period of twenty-five years and preceded the Stake Bank Cruise Docking Facility Development Act which came into being in January 2018.  Despite the existence of the Stake Bank Definitive Agreement, GOB proceeded to approve another cruise ship docking facility in Belize District.  That would be the controversial Port of Magical Belize.



In a claim brought by Feinstein and Stake Bank against the Attorney General and Portico Enterprises Limited, the parent company for Port of Magical Belize, special damages of almost one hundred and eighty million dollars are being sought for multiple breaches of that definitive agreement.  According to a claim signed by Feinstein in August 2023, government entered into a memorandum of understanding with Portico in September 2017, at which point the Barrow administration, quote, indicated that it was considering granting the second defendant approval to construct and operate a cruise ship docking facility in or in the vicinity of the Port of Belize, end quote.  This, says Feinstein, coincided with negotiations that Stake Bank was having with financial institutions to secure financing to construct the Stake Bank project.  Stake Bank Enterprise was also in discussions with cruise ship operators to secure usage agreements to dock at the facility when the project was completed.  It is alleged that news of Portico’s memorandum of understanding thwarted both negotiations and, as a result, prevented the construction of the Stake Bank Project from continuing.


When the Government of Belize entered into a definitive agreement with Portico in October 2020, it granted a thirty-year term for the Port of Magical Belize with a raft of excessively approving rights, tax benefits and duty concessions that GOB had never granted to any other investor or developer.  According to Stake Bank, as a result of those breaches, it has suffered extensive loss and damage, as the project has been stalled for six years.  The company, says Feinstein, has also lost projected net revenues for that period which comes up to one hundred and forty-eight million, four hundred and thirty-four thousand, four hundred and four Belize dollars.  It also claims that it has incurred thirty million Belize dollars in additional interest during that period.


We note that while the suit against the Briceño administration was filed in the High Court in August 2023, it was never publicized.  We also note that the claim was brought a little over two months after Anthony Sylvestre assumed office as the new attorney general.


Isani Cayetano for News Five.

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