In September the National Evangelical Association of Belize had filed an application in Belize’s court requesting leave to appeal the Chief Justice’s ruling on Section 53. Yesterday that application was struck out leaving the NEAB with a ruling to cover the legal costs incurred by Caleb Orozco as well as to the Attorney General. Love News spoke with Orozco on this ruling.
“From the report was sent by one of my lawyers and essentially the NEAB leave to appeal submission was dismissed and they were asked to pay costs to the attorney general’s office and my side of the legal case yesterday. It makes it easier for us to then address the efforts of the Roman Catholic Church and their submission but it also brings home the point especially with the NEAB that they understand that while they may have their biblical beliefs that it’s not the bible that makes legal decision, it’s the judiciary and that more precisely the next time they hire lawyers it’s important to hire lawyers who know what they are doing. “
Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin did not entertain the application on the grounds that the NEAB was not a party to the original claim. There is the claim by the Catholic Church, however, that remains pending as explained by Orozco.
“Well they too submitted documents for appeal in its totality and they along originally with the NEAB were asking for costs and the burden of that request laid solely on myself. I thought that was interesting because they were the ones to appeal but they were following a bullying tactic to ensure that I feel the consequence of my action through the request for the cost of the legal process. Funnily enough my side have not filed any claims for costs as it relates to the legal process and such we are considerate of the fact that we need to be reasonable and so it was interesting for me to see that the Roman Catholic Church submission and the NEAB was not reasonable in the way they filed their request to recover costs.”
“And that request from the Catholic Church comes up when ?”
“There is a process, when they filed their submission on September 16th that we were to be served in seven days, unfortunately for the NEAB we were served late, we were served on September 30 so there is that issue. The other issue is we have about 21 days after the whole procedure to then respond to the document for the Roman Catholic Church and so we are looking at scheduling a date around that 21 days.”
Love News spoke with President of the NEAB, Pastor Lance Lewis.
“The ruling took us by surprise, we were not expecting that because we were told how we could appeal as an interested partner and so we were not there originally but in a sense we were there because the BAEC comprised of myself and others and so in that sense we were the persons who represented the BAEC in the 2013 hearing of the case. Now because of some weird scenario last year we were put out of the BAEC by an interim person, an interim chairman and the interim vice chairman was Scott Stirm and the other interim chairman was Victor Hernandez and they were put out but the interim president remained and became president. So that caused us not to be there so we are still under BEAC. But we went ahead and appealed and we are hoping for the best and so it’s we were a bit surprised that we were ruled out. Now it is left to the Roman Catholic Church to step up and see what happens. Now their turn to see what the court will say about their case and what their proposals are.
NEAB’s only hope is in the Catholic Church, which is an interested party in the original claim and who is acting as the representative for the other parties interested in challenging the ruling.