Stake Bank wants GOB to approve Port Policy now
- Business, Companies & OrganizationsGovernment & PoliticsTransportationTravel & Tourism
- February 28, 2023
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The government needs to approve – post-haste – the final draft of the Port Policy. That’s what Stake Bank Enterprise Limited wants. Stake Bank argues that once this policy is in place, it makes clear that there can be only one cruise port and one cargo port for the Belize District at this time. A press release from Stake Bank says that their statement comes following the comments from former UDP Ministers Michael Peyrefitte and Tracy Taegar-Panton. Both ministers in the last UDP government have said in the past week that a definitive agreement with Portico, the principals behind Port of Magical Belize, was not greenlighted by the Barrow administration nor did it have the support of Cabinet’s committee on investment, a group that Panton chaired. Stake Bank says that this stance indicates to them that the Barrow government were not (quote) “convince(d) that there was enough business for two cruise ports to economically co-exist in the Belize District” and that the UDP went into the last elections supporting Port Coral. Stake Bank says that with this agreement Portico has, (quote) “seriously damaged its business model and elevated its financing cost”, adding that it is seeking a legal opinion on whether the Portico Agreement and the Minister who signed the agreement are on the hook for damages due to misrepresentation and fraud. Interestingly, when the current Prime Minister, John Briceño was the Leader of the Opposition in 2017, he expressed the PUP’s support of the Stake Bank Project saying quote “We believe the Project is in line with our vision of home-grown investments, which bring long term sustainable development to our economy and population centres like Belize City” Unquote. However, the government has been taken to the Supreme Court by Stake Bank, which believes that the environmental clearance given by the current administration in March 2021 had procedural flaws. The situation remains challenging, particularly as to what happens next, but any additional development will be shared with the public. In the meantime, we continue to monitor the story.