In the wake of Wednesday’s landmark consent order in the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) with regard to Maya land rights in Toledo, where the Government is now refused the ability to hand out leases, concessions and other instruments related to land in that District without the informed consent of the Maya, there is expected a ripple effect for similar cases in court. We have already told you of the hearing for Sarstoon Temash Institute of Indigenous Management (SATIIM) against U.S. Capital Energy and the Government that is in the Court of Appeal. OCEANA’s victory in the court of Justice Oswell Legall two years ago this month has also been appealed by both sides to the Court of Appeal as well as a subsequent decision by Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin to lift an injunction placed by Justice Legall on continued activity with oil concessions around the country. Vice President of OCEANA in Belize Janelle Chanona says they are prepared to use litigation to force the Government’s hand as the Mayas did
“Part of our letter to the Ministry of Energy points out that before going forward with any of these guidelines, there should be a watch and wait approach regarding those because that goes into some very specific and technical details that would cause confusion – why are we going about drafting details that the court might rule on. As you know, there are two appeals, the appeals against the injunction that was lifted … you would recall that Justice Ecal had placed an injunction on all activity and that was subsequently lifted by the Chief Justice, and the government appealed against our victory saying that all the licenses were declared null and void. We are trying to wait patiently for the Court of Appeals to hear those matters but like the Mayans, we are fully prepared to take it to the CCJ if that is where it ends up, to ensure justice is served.
No dates have been set for any of the hearings involving OCEANA, SATIIM, COLA and the Coalition.