Waterloo wants to settle with GOB over port project
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- January 30, 2023
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The Waterloo Group wants to settle with the Government of Belize over the Port of Belize Port Cargo Facility project. The group says that the consequence of the National Environmental Appraisal Committee’s rejection of the project allows Waterloo to trigger a dispute and claim under the UK-Belize-BIT Agreement of 1982, which deals with the protection of investments. The Chairman, Lord Michael Ashcroft wrote to Prime Minister John Briceño on January 19 a 14-page, 6,444-word letter. In part, the letter says that quote “As such, this dispute may now be submitted to international arbitration under Article 8 of the UK-Belize BIT” Unquote. He adds, quote “Notwithstanding this…they are prepared to discuss an amicable settlement of the matter of the GoB…failing which it will proceed to commence arbitration proceedings against the GoB no later than 28 February 2023.” In short, the essence of the letter cites several reasons why an ultimatum – settle or face international arbitration – has been given. Waterloo says that Government’s actions encouraged investment on Waterloo’s part and that there are vast differences in how the EIA approval process between PBL and Port of Magical Belize was treated. In addition, Waterloo argues that the Department’s reasoning to deny environmental clearance to the PBL Project was “irrational”. The 32 points – and sub-points – Lord Ashcroft made the point that while they appealed the DOE’s initial decision, the department quote “re-made the same unlawful decision, on some of the same unreasonable and unlawful asserted bases” Unquote. It’s been 11 days since the letter was penned and thus far, the Prime Minister has not yet responded. We will tell you when he does.