Posted: Monday, June 19, 2023. 3:38 pm CST.
By Aaron Humes: Legal principal for Waterloo Investment Holdings Limited, Senior Counsel Godfrey Smith of Marine Parade Chambers, is turning up the heat on the Government of Belize with respect to its requests under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) for information it says it needs in pursuance of an interest in the cruise tourism industry.
But it says its requests have gone unanswered, and now it may be forced to take recourse to the courts.
Exhibited are letters dating back to February 3 to the Prime Minister and various Ministers of Government, including a request for a copy of the Portico “Definative” Agreement which was never honored despite the Ministry of Finance having it and presenting it to Cabinet, followed by a leak to the press.
Smith warns that if the Government fails to either honor the requests or discipline those who have refused or obstructed the requests, then Waterloo will seek an order of mandamus compelling compliance and judicial review. Additionally, he states that the failure and refusal to respond is another instance of “unfair treatment” by Government which he says will be relied upon in support of the forthcoming claim against Government under the UK-Belize Investment Treaty of 1982, under which arbitration is required.
To his former colleague, Smith concludes, “Please therefore consider this as your pre-action warning that judicial review proceedings will be commenced against you if you do nothing about this. I’m afraid it will not go away.”
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