The Belize Alliance of Conservation NGOs filed two legal challenges to the government's approvals of the Chalillo dam project, backed by the Canadian-owned Fortis-Belize Electricity Company Limited (BECOL).
The challenge to the government's approval of the Environmental Impact Assessment for the project went before the Privy Council--the highest court in the Commonwealth and lost a final 3-2 decision in January, 2004.
Below are BACONGO's grounds, arguments and some of the key evidence in the cases:
Challenge to environmental approval
Challenge to Public Utilities Commission approval (not posted)
Privy Council final decision 245kb text (.rtf)
DOE Skeleton Arguments 517kb pdf
The case was heard on July 30, 2003
Court Decision (Court denies injunction, but warns Belize on Hydro Act) (300kb pdf)
BACONGO Skeleton Arguments (Richard Clayton, QC--39 Essex; David Wolfe, Matrix Chambers; Christopher Forsyth, Robinson College, Cambridge; Lois Young, SC; ) (650kb pdf)
BACONGO Petition (Richard Clayton, QC--39 Essex; David Wolfe, Matrix Chambers; Lois Young, SC; Richard Buxton, solicitor) (20kb pdf)
Appeal of Action 61, which challenges the rubber-stamp environmental approval by the National Environmental Appraisal Committee and the Department of the Environment. The Belize Appeals Court dismissed the appeal, but found that the issues raised were of significance and merit review by the Privy Council.
Decision and Reasons, Belize Appeals Court, June 17, 2003
Belize Court dismissed the application, ruling that it does not have the jurisdiction to grant an injunction. BACONGO will bring an application for an injunction before the Privy Council
BACONGO Skeleton Arguments (MS Word 147kb)
BECOL Arguments (560kb)
DOE (Belize Govt.) Arguments (pdf 1MB)
Challenges the rubber-stamp environmental approval by the National Environmental Appraisal Committee and the Department of the Environment. See also August 2002 update with photos. Belize's Chief Justice ordered the Department of Environment to hold a public hearing, but refused to overturn the approval of the dam. BACONGO appealed the case to the Belize Appeals Court.
Chief Justice Abdullah Conteh grants leave to seek judicial review, February 28, 2002 (pdf 22kb)
NEAC/DOE (Government of Belize)
BECOL (Fortis) Arguments
BACONGO affidavits (<60kb pdf each):
Richard Goodman, engineering geologist
BACONGO affidavits - Supreme Court:
Ambrose Tillet, energy engineer (third affidavit only)
Brian Holland, geologist (second affidavit only)
Candy Gonzalez, BACONGO's NEAC representative
Grainne Ryder, Policy Director, Probe International (on AMEC deal)
BECOL affidavits - Supreme Court:
Jeremy Gilbert Green, civil engineer
Joseph Sukhnandan, Vice President of Planning and Engineering of BECOL
Lynn Young, Director, BECOL
James Code, engineering geologist
Dawn Sampson, PR officer, BECOL
Belize Department of the Environment affidavits:
Beverly Wade, Fisheries Administrator
George Thompson, Archeological Commissioner, Department of Archeology
Ismaeil Elejio Fabro, Chief Environmental Officer, DOE
Ramon Frutos, meteorologist
Valdemar Andrade, Executive Director, Belize Audubon Society
Icilda Humes, Head of EIA and Project Evaluation, DOE
Government repeals unconstitutional Act following Privy Council warning (update November 2003)
Belize government passes unconstitutional bill to protect Fortis: Belizeans vow challenge in Privy Council (June 2003 update ; tv news report; editorial --Godsman Ellis; editorial --Meb Cutlack 1; editorial --Meb Cutlack 2; Belizean petition to recall new law--photo)
"Fortis-is-above-the-law" Bill (600kb pdf)
Challenges the approval by the Public Utilities Commission, despite the fact that BECOL is not operating with a license and did not obtain a consent to build the Chalillo dam and generation facility.
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