Posted: Wednesday, January 5, 2022. 3:09 pm CST.
By Aaron Humes: Minister of Sustainable Development, Climate Change and Disaster Risk Management Orlando Habet now holds a very hot potato in his hands – the decision on whether to overrule the Department of the Environment and National Environmental Appraisal Committee (NEAC) in denying environmental clearance to Waterloo Investment Holdings Limited’s cruise project in Port Loyola.
In a statement, the company says it has informed the Minister of its grounds for challenging the decision, primarily that the reasoning of the decision is “flawed, legally unsound and unable to withstand judicial scrutiny.”
The decision was made after a meeting in late December at which non-governmental organizations (NGOs) were not represented after a mix-up with representation, but they have consistently opposed the project’s use of areas along Belize’s coastline to dump thousands of cubic feet of material dredged from the project site, which they argue would hamper the ecosystem of the area.
Waterloo CEO Stewart Howard is quoted as calling “spurious” allegations of incomplete information, and says denying the project rather than allowing perceived deficiencies to be addressed is “unreasonable and against elementary principles of fairness.”
He continues that some $10 million has already been invested in preparatory studies and unprecedented scientific analysis, and concludes, “This project is a game-changer for several industries within Belize. We possess the financial capacity and reputation to execute this project and fully intend to significantly upgrade the cargo terminal and build-out the cruise terminal as a world class facility for Belize.”
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