Lawmakers dismiss attempt to block Nicaragua Canal

April 12, 2016
1 Comments

MANAGUA, Nicaragua – Nicaragua’s Congress has scuppered a bill backed by thousands of people hoping to block a cross-country canal project, saying the legislature does not have the authority to weigh the issue.

The draft legislation presented by rural dwellers living along the proposed Nicaragua canal’s path “is rejected as inadmissible,” the chamber said, adding that it lacks the “jurisdiction” to handle it, Congress’s first secretary wrote in a letter made public on Monday.

The government hopes the ambitious Nicaragua Canal project will rival Panama’s lucrative canal, which handles five percent of commercial maritime traffic.

Some 28,000 Nicaraguans signed a petition backing the bill, which sought to block the state’s authorization giving the canal project to a Chinese consortium, HKND, to build and run for 50 years. Seven thousand of those signatures were stamped, as required by law. Only 5,000 stamped signatures must be collected for Congress to consider a citizen’s bill.

See: Indigenous and Afro-Caribbeans claim they were forced to negotiate over Nicaragua Canal

The legislature argued on Monday that it is unable to debate the citizen’s bill because of a 2013 ruling by the country’s Supreme Court rejecting a complaint against the canal and drawing a line under the issue.

A legal consultant for the petitioning rural citizens, Mónica López, criticized the Congress’s decision, saying the lawmakers were declaring that “the law on the canal is written in stone and 28,000 signatures cannot modify it.” That, she said, was “a legal aberration, an outrageous situation.”

Congress in June 2013 approved a law handing the canal’s operating rights to the HKND consortium, which is tasked with building the gargantuan waterway at a cost of $50 billion.

Read more Nicaragua Canal coverage here

 

You may be interested

This week in the Peace Corps: Training to be a Peace Corps Volunteer
Changemakers
79 views
Changemakers
79 views

This week in the Peace Corps: Training to be a Peace Corps Volunteer

The Tico Times - August 21, 2018

Last month Peace Corps Costa Rica received over 40 new trainees in the Youth Development (YD) and English (TEFL) sectors.…

Brazil sends troops after clashes at Venezuela border
Brazil
123 views
Brazil
123 views

Brazil sends troops after clashes at Venezuela border

AFP / Paula Ramon - August 21, 2018

SAO PAULO, Brazil— Brazil's President, Michel Temer, called an emergency meeting of key ministers Sunday after ordering troops to the…

Navas starts for Real despite Courtois arrival
Keylor Navas
171 views
Keylor Navas
171 views

Navas starts for Real despite Courtois arrival

AFP - August 20, 2018

MADRID, Spain—Keylor Navas held on to his place as Real Madrid's starting goalkeeper on Sunday despite the arrival of Thibaut…