Regional — 21 June 2013 — by Adele Ramos

Oceana announced today that Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin has adjourned the announcement of his decision on the request by the Government of Belize for a stay of execution on the injunction granted in April, stopping the Government from acting on six petroleum contracts which the court has declared to be “illegal, null, and void.”

The decision was originally scheduled to be presented on Thursday, June 20, 2013, but it will instead be presented on Friday, June 21.

In claim #810 of 2011, Oceana Belize, along with Citizens Organized for Liberty through Action and the Belize Coalition to Save Our Natural Heritage, challenged the issuance of six offshore contracts, and Justice Oswell Legall ruled in their favor, declaring the contracts to be “illegal, null and void.”

Government has argued that without the stay on the injunction, also issued by Legall with the April 2013 ruling, they will continue to be unable to properly supervise operations currently being undertaken by Treaty Energy Limited, joint venture partner of Princess Petroleum.

Attorney for the Government, Denys Barrow, SC, has indicated that they are also appealing the Legall ruling in the Court of Appeal.

Oceana contends that no petroleum works are to be done under the PSAs in question, because the court has already issued a declaration that the issuance of those contracts was contrary to law: specifically the Environmental Protection Act and the Petroleum Act.

Friday’s session is due to begin at 9:00 a.m.

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