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PM Briceño Comments on Controversial Definitive Agreement with Portico

May 29, 2023

Prime Minister John Briceño returned to the country today and was met at the PGIA by a group of reporters armed with questions about the controversial Definitive Agreement with Portico Enterprises Limited. As we reported last week, the elusive Definitive Agreement that was signed by representatives of Portico, the parent company for Port of Magical Belize, and former U.D.P. Minister Erwin Contreras was leaked to the media. That agreement was taken to Cabinet with draft legislation. The Confidential Cabinet paper sought approval for a proposed fiscal incentives legislation for the port project. These fiscal incentives given to Portico are described as alarming and against the best interest of the Belizean public. When asked about it today, PM Briceño told reporters that the Definitive Agreement will be amended.

Prime Minister John Briceño

Prime Minister John Briceño

“Let me speak strictly to the matter that the paper went to covenant along with a copy of the definitive agreement. I want to make this very clear; I am very disappointed that this paper was leak out. As you all know, when we were appointed to the cabinet, we signed an oath of confidentiality that what this is discussed Cabinet should remain there because then this allows ministers to be able to speak their minds freely. The paper came to cabinet. The minister of Tourism Anthony Mahler then started to raise some concerns, rightly so. And then other ministers started to raise some issues. When I started to look at the issues that were being raised. Then I said that we are going to pull back this paper. And that it has to be redone. I want to finish with this, that whenever we finish those redoing that paper whatever we take to the National Assembly, because it’ll be taken as part of, uh, piece of its own legislation like what we did with Stake Bank, like what we did with Harvest Caye it’ll be no better or no worse. What I can assure you right now that whatever that U.D.P. signed under the definitive agreement that will not fly. We are going to be redoing it. I repeat once more that whatever we do won’t be no better no worse than what we did with Stake bank and Harvest Caye.”