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P.M. John Briceño to warring cruise agents: Government “will not be distracted, intimidated or bullied”

Posted: Friday, June 23, 2023. 9:18 pm CST.

By Aaron Humes: The Briceño administration has been beset by howls of discontent from all sides concerning its handling of the ‘cruise port wars’ in the Belize District – attempting to negotiate its way out of a Definitive Agreement with Portico Enterprises for the Port of Magical Belize while attempting to placate Stake Bank Enterprises Limited which is furthest along to completion, and fending off the many challenges of Waterloo Investment Holdings which is determined to build a port in Southside Belize City at the Port of Belize compound.

To the latter especially, it seems, the Prime Minister responded this week with his own words of warning. After a brief summary of the state of affairs, the P.M. loosed this shot across the bow of Waterloo: “In cruise tourism, the recent controversy serves to highlight the unique demand for the Belize product. One cruise port is under construction and developers for two additional ports seek approval. Surely, these hundreds of millions being talked about would not be proposed if Belize did not offer a world class product whose natural luster we must safeguard for this and future generations. In this regard, we will not be distracted, we will not be intimidated, and we will not be bullied. My administration will do what is in the best interest of our nation and the Belizean people.”

Numerous requests have been made by attorneys for Waterloo, through the Freedom of Information Act, to obtain information from the Government of Belize in respect of the Portico Definitive Agreement. While the Prime Minister openly discarded the original document during the last meeting of the House of Representatives, all of those requests made on behalf of Waterloo have gone unanswered.

In the most recent letter sent to the P.M. on June sixteenth, Senior Counsel Godfrey Smith wrote for Waterloo, “I am obliged to point out that this adamant refusal by your government’s relevant officials to respond to our client’s requests for information under the act highlights the unfair treatment of our client is being subjected to by the Government of Belize and will be relied upon as a ground in support of our client’s subsidiary companies claim under the UK Bilateral Investment Treaty of 1982.” He also warned of further legal action including pursuit of a writ of mandamus at the High Court.

 

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