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BTIA begins lawsuit over Harvest Caye

Wednesday, July 01, 2015. BMG: One year ago this week the Belize Tourism Industry Association (BTIA) won leave for judicial review of the decisions of the Department of the Environment (DOE) and BTIAthe National Environmental Appraisal Committee (NEAC) to, respectively, approve the environmental impact assessment for the project on Harvest Caye in contravention of the terms of reference and legal requirements, and recommend that approval without enough opportunity for the public to properly consult, comment on and review the EIA, the single consultation held in Independence Village notwithstanding.

Harvest Caye is a project managed by Belize Island Holdings Limited on behalf of Norwegian Cruise Lines which intends to turn it into a full cruise park and base for tours throughout the South.

The BTIA argues that there was a legitimate expectation that the Government would abide by the National Sustainable Tourism Master Plan which outlaws mass cruise tourism in the South.

The case started under President Herbert Haylock, and his successor Osmany Salas and an expert, Dr. Ruth Westheimer (?) testified beginning on Tuesday and continuing today. Most of the day was given over to cross-examination of expert witnesses for the BTIA concerning the EIA, ECP and terms of reference for the project.

The project continues without any application for an injunction by the BTIA, who are hindered by the legal precedent set by the case of BACONGO and the DOE in 2003 among others which indicate that even an injunction cannot be sought by anyone not directly affected by the result of a Government decision.

This is a developing story. We’ll have an update on this story later today.

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