Six companies granted concessions to explore for oil in Belize between 2005 and 2007 have been challenged in court by Oceana, the resident watchdog organization, on grounds that they fail to meet the legal requirements for a concession under the Petroleum Act.
The challenge is also directed at the Ministry of Natural Resources for granting the concession.
The dispute, now before Justice Legal, has been further adjourned until August 22.
Oceana contends that the companies: Island Oil Belize Limited, Tropical Energy Limited, PetroBelize Company Limited, Princess Petroleum Limited, Providence Energy Belize Limited and Sol Oil Belize Limited, do not meet the requirements of the Petroleum Act and therefore their oil exploration contracts should be declared null and void.
In this matter before the Court of Appeal, Froylan Gilharry Sr. and Gilharry Bus Lines have taken the Transport Board, the Chief Transport Officer, the Minister of Transport and the Government of Belize to Court, because the Transport Board had taken away a number of lucrative bus runs from him.
Arguments in that case cited the Public Authorities Protection Act, and since there might be a parallel, Justice Legall decided to wait to hear what the Court of Appeal had to say.
Legall informed both attorneys that he remained unconvinced that the Froylan Gilharry judgment had any impact on Oceana’s case, and Oceana’s attorney, Godfrey Smith concurred; but the Crown Counsels representing the Government of Belize argued otherwise, so the matter was adjourned to give both sides time to prepare their arguments.