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Portico developer David Gegg clashes with Senate Special Select Committee; declares Definitive Agreement “still enforceable”

Posted: Thursday, May 23, 2024. 8:56 pm CST.

By Aaron Humes: The fifth public hearing of the Senate Special Select Committee into Portico Enterprises Limited featured clashes between witness David Gegg, the developer of Port of Magical Belize Limited, and some of the Committee’s members who probed the origin and status of the Definitive Agreement signed by then-Minister Erwin Contreras in 2020, and publicly torn up by Prime Minister John Briceno last year.

But Gegg told Labour and Civil Society Senator Glenfield Dennison that for now, that agreement remains in place, to be backed by legislation: “I think a cabinet would approve our project based on the fact that we have a valid binding and enforceable definitive agreement, and that agreement calls for the government to pass an act in support of that definitive agreement.”

He added that he would be prepared to negotiate “an acceptable alternative” and dismissed the actions of the Prime Minister in Parliament as “political theater,” citing subsequent “discussions with the Prime Minister, with [Tourism Minister Anthony] Mahler, with Minister [of State Christopher] Coye. They seem to be like a team within the government as to how we move this and possibly other port projects forward.”

Belmopan understands that the project is needed, but, Gegg said, he accepted that the politicians may want to look at things differently because of various factors including the “cloud” of the Senate inquiry. However, he denied ‘lobbying’ Government to support the project or having a hand in any legislation or decisions by the Cabinet and the Legislature.

Gegg insisted that “I know I’ve done nothing wrong,” including refusing to pay a suggested seven-figure campaign contribution to an unnamed Government official, while intimating that Committee chair Senator Janelle Chanona did not have clean hands because of correspondence with former rivals Waterloo Investments. He refused to apologize when called on by Senator Chanona and went on to refer to the entire Senate inquiry as “a charade.”

 

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