Denys Barrow presents Government’s case on oil injunction

Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin heard arguments as to why the Government should be granted a stay of an injunction handed down by Justice Oswell Legall in his April judgment declaring the production sharing agreements of certain oil companies unlawful, null and void and stopping the Minister from acting on vlcsnap-2013-06-06-19h36m58s21them. Appearing for the Minister, Senior Counsel Denys Barrow sought to prove the two main planks of applications for stays at Supreme Court level: that the case has a reasonable chance of success at the higher court and that there is a risk of irreparable damage as a result of the prior decision. The Government gave a number of the reasons why they disagree with Justice Legall’s judgment and in the case of the latter plank argued that the Government stands to lose at least $10 million dollars in direct revenue from petroleum-related activities the longer the injunction stays in place. More importantly, he said, the Minister and her servants and agents are unable to properly direct the affairs of the companies, who have not, he said, been legally restrained from continuing their work whereas the Minister has. OCEANA argues that the court would in effect be reversing itself and giving new life to objects that have already been declared null and void. The case resumes on June 11 with responding submissions from Godfrey Smith and Antoinette Moore, Senior Counsels for OCEANA, the Belize Coalition to Save our Natural Heritage and COLA.

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