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SATIIM Fails yet again Print E-mail
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Written by Administrator   
Thursday, 19 June 2014 00:00

For the past 2 months, SATIIM made the media rounds claiming that they were adamant to block the Government of Belize and US Capital Energy from continuing oil explorations inside the Sarstoon Temash National Park. That attempt came in the form of an injunction application before Justice Michelle Arana on Monday, June 13, and when it was done, it was a major anti-climax. The company is allowed to continue its operation unhindered.

Before the application for injunction was heard, Government attorney Denys Barrow applied to have it struck out on the grounds that the court was “functus officio”, meaning that this case was closed before the judge because her decision was handed down and finalized. Barrow reasoned that because of this, the court didn’t have jurisdiction to grant this injunction that SATIIM and the Mayan Communities were requesting.

Eamon Courtenay, attorney for the Mayan Communities, rebutted that argument on the grounds that according to the Civil Procedure Rules of the Supreme Court, Justice Arana was allowed to grant this injunction even though the judgement was already handed down.

In that injunction hearing, it was revealed that after that perfected order from Justice Arana was handed down on May 8, both the Government and the Mayans Cross Appeal the Arana decision to the Court of Appeal. Those applications are now before the higher court.

On May 8 also, Government went down to Sunday Wood Village, one of the Mayan buffer communities. There they consulted with the village and got their free and informed consent to grant an extension of the permit to US Capital Energy. Though Sunday Wood was not a part of the claimants’ case in the Arana decision, Government reasoned that Sunday Wood was the only community whose consent was needed. That’s after one of their experts mapped out the area and discovered that only this community had lands that were a part of the national park. With that permission, Government interpreted that they complied with the order and they granted an extension of the permit to US Capital Energy.

After considering all the materials before her, Justice Arana ruled that Government complied with the spirit of her ruling but not with the letter of her decision, because they didn’t consult with the rest of the communities listed in the claimants’ list. She ruled that both parties needed to participate in court-ordered mediation.

That’s a far cry from blocking the Government and US Capital Energy, and so the latest move from SATIIM-led regime has failed.