Posted: Wednesday, September 27, 2023. 8:48 am CST.
By Aaron Humes: The Definitive Agreement between the Government of Belize and Portico Enterprises Limited may be no more, but the project continues to move ahead and a new piece of legislation, still in draft stage, sets out what will define its existence.
According to Prime Minister and Minister of Finance John Briceño, the draft bill, known as the Belize Cruise Ship Docking Facility and Tourism Village Development Bill, has so far not yet even made it to Cabinet, certainly not in time to be presented at the next planned House of Representatives meeting on October 13.
But a draft leaked to Channel 7 News lays out its purpose: to provide “for the development of a Cruise Port Docking Facility and Tourism Village; and to provide for certain exemptions and benefits and for the levy of a Cruise Ship Facility Fee.”
The developers must meet investment requirements of no less than $250 million – U.S. or Belize, not clear, and apply for a fiscal incentives order to the Executive Director of BELTRAIDE, who would recommend for or against the project to the Minister of Finance.
Under the Bill, not only is the developer, funders, and associated contractors exempt from taxes, duties, or other impositions, but a clause in the bill explicitly appears to bind the Minister of Finance from applying any amended and/or enacted tax laws to the project, retroactive to the date of that law. This would presumably insulate the developer from any changes by a future Government, and more implicitly one led by Moses “Shyne” Barrow who has been adamantly against the project.
The facility fee is no less than US$7 or $14 to be shared between the developer and Government, ensuring an annual return of no less than $6 million.
The previous agreement is the subject of multiple lawsuits against the Government by rival developers Waterloo Investments and Stake Bank Enterprises for perceived breaches of their confidence, as well as against former Minister of Economic Development Erwin Contreras for signing in, though he reportedly claims he had the authority to do so.
Advertise with the mоѕt vіѕіtеd nеwѕ ѕіtе іn Belize ~ We offer fully customizable and flexible digital marketing packages. Your content is delivered instantly to thousands of users in Belize and abroad! Contact us at mаrkеtіng@brеаkіngbеlіzеnеwѕ.соm or call us at 501-601-0315.
© 2023, BreakingBelizeNews.com. Content is copyrighted and requires written permission for reprinting in online or print media. Theft of content without permission/payment is punishable by law.