Another Hydroelectric Plant to Be Suspended

In Guatemala, a group of residents of San Pedro Carchá asked the Constitutional Court to suspend Renace's operations, arguing that there was no community consultation prior to the development of the project.

Friday, October 25, 2019

On October 23, a public hearing was held in the country's capital in which the Constitutional Court heard the positions of the interested parties. The lawsuit against the operation of the hydroelectric complex arose from a legal action brought by a group of residents of Alta Verapaz, who claim that the company in charge of the project did not carry out a community consultation prior to its development.

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Faced with this accusation, the company's defense argued that it was impossible to carry out a community consultation prior to the start of the project, since in 1991 the Renace complex was authorized and Convention 169, which requires the requirement in question, entered into force until 1997.

Ana Gabriela Roca, the company's defense attorney, told the judges of the Constitutional Court that "... If we confronted 1991 and 1997 it was impossible for the Ministry of Energy and Mines to authorize a consultation under a law that did not exist at the time. And besides, the Guatemalan state in approving that agreement made the reservation that it would not be applied retroactively and that it would not affect acquired rights."

Roca added that "... If the Court confirms the sentence, it would be reckless because it would send a message that there is no administrative measure to be applied after the entry into agreement 169'."

After the fourth phase of the project began commercial operations in January 2019, it is estimated that the Renace complex generates 16% of the electricity currently consumed in the country.

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In Guatemala, a group of deputies filed an unconstitutionality action against the ministerial agreement approving the Rocja Pontila hydroelectric project.

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Without Legal Certainty Guatemala Will Not Prosper

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The business sector is questioning the decision made by the Constitutional Court to suspend the operation of two hydroelectric stations and is asking for decisions to be made based on legal criteria, giving priority to the national interest.

From a statement issued by Cacif Guatemala:

Guatemala: Hydroelectrics and Legal Uncertainty

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The Constitutional Court has upheld suspension of the license for the Oxec I and II hydroelectric stations, for allegedly failing to consult indigenous peoples in the area before starting the projects.

The decision taken by the Constitutional Court (CC) is seen by the private sector as a threat to legal certainty in the country, because of the projects that are at stake and the effect it will have on other investments that may no longer be made in Guatemala if orders continue to be given to suspend mining and energy projects.

Guatemala: Businessmen demand Legal Certainty for Investments

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The business sector is against making retroactive consultations on mining and energy projects as they are already under development and is demanding regulation of the implementation of the ILO Convention 169 in order to protect investments.

From a statement issued by the CACIF:

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Barrantes & Associates is a full service Costa Rica Law firm located in San Jose Costa Rica. We have been in business since 1999. All our Attorneys are English speaking.
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