Oceana calls on GOB to demand that Treaty Energy respect our laws
Friday, May 17th, 2013
Oceana in Belize today was able to confirm that Treaty Energy has resumed drilling operations in San Juan#3 following up on their statement that they would do so based on the advice from their attorney Rodwell Williams and Prime Minister Barrow’s press statement.
The court ruling was clear that the contract of Princess Petroleum, which has a joint venture with Treaty Energy, is “unlawful, null and void” and thus it stands that by extension any work Treaty does under the umbrella of Princess is unlawful and a violation of the declaration made by Justice Oswell Legall.
“It must be noted that under our system of law, the courts and spirit of the law expect Governments to be gentlemen and abide by pronouncement made in any court declaration based on the fact that our governments are constitutionally formed and thus the guardian of the principle of “Rule of LAW” which is the basis of the Constitution,” explained VP Oceana, Audrey Matura-Shepherd. However as an extra pre-caution the court also issued an injunction stopping government from implementing or allowing any oil company from implementing any of the provisions of the Production Sharing Agreement, which are the contracts signed between the company and the government.
However, instead of stopping the oil companies from proceeding and ensuring that Government’s disagreement with the ruling be settle in the Court of Appeal, the Prime Minister, in his press conference of April 29th, 2013 rather than calling on all oil companies to respect the ruling he abdicated his responsibility and announced that it was “for the concession
holder to determine whether it will proceed with whatever activity it was doing under the PSA.” This clearly is not what is expected of a responsible democratic government, otherwise it signals that all can go about doing as they please and breaching any of the country’s laws, especially if they are liked by the government of the day,” stated VP Audrey Matura-Shepherd.
In a related development, Government has applied for a stay of execution of the injunction issued by Justice Legall to be removed so Treaty and Providence can continue drill and the government can continue to do their part to facilitate their work. This move by the Government is at the request of Princess’ Executive Director stated in a letter written to the
Prime Minister, and not the Minister of Energy, who is now responsible for the oil industry.
Hearing on this latest application by the Government for the oil companies is scheduled for May 28, 2013 before the Chief Justice.
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