Over two years ago Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin was in the hot seat when the Belize Bar Association called him out on the delayed delivery of judgements. The matter was a serious one as over thirty cases were left undone due to pending judgements. As a result, Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin was given until December 15, 2017 to try and clear up as much of the back log as he could. Fast forward to today and the situation is the same. Love News has learnt that the Bar is looking to file a complaint against the Chief Justice this week due to delayed rulings. We spoke with Senior Counsel Andrew Marshalleck who explained that while he was not directly involved in the matter back in 2017, he currently is affected.
Senior Counsel Andrew Marshalleck, Attorney at Law: “That’s another chronic problem that the association has been grappling with. It’s still without resolution because there are decisions that still have not been delivered. It requires some action and certainly if not from the Bar Association I know that some of the private litigants themselves are on the verge of taking action because they’ve been put in between a rock and a hard place in that the court system deals with bad decisions. When there is no decision the system breaks down, it’s just not supposed to happen but it is happening. I know there have been a number efforts, more diplomatic than legal and it may well be that now we’re left with the legal challenges.”
Marshalleck went on to explain to Love News that one of his cases involving former Journalist, Glenn Tillett is a case that was in the Chief Justice court room from November 2010 and still has not gotten closure due to an undelivered judgement.
Senior Counsel Andrew Marshalleck, Attorney at Law: ” I have another one personally too it was Glenn Tillett against Lois Young, Nestor Vasquez, Social Security Board and it challenged the validity of the decision of the board to buy $50 million worth of shares in BTL because Lois and Net served on both boards and if you remember correctly I believe the chairman had to use the casting vote on the Social Security Board or investment committee in order to get the approval to purchase those shares. Mr.Glenn Tillett had challenged the validity of that on the basis that there was an obvious conflict of interest and that they ought properly not to have participated in the meeting. If that was indeed the case then the decision to purchase the shares could not have been made. That’s still there all these years later, even with the nationalization challenge being settled and I believe Social Security continues to hold those shares; but that is one of the matters that has been outstanding and reserved for very many years by the Chief Justice.”
Renee Trujillo, Love FM News: There is also the case with the Cotton Tree Lands, how are those villagers fearing off in terms of not being able to have a definitive judgment or ruling on the land matters?
Senior Counsel Andrew Marshalleck, Attorney at Law: “Every time I drive pass there I take a look at that subdivision, that magnificent subdivision that government did and gave away lots for votes before elections. Well it’s all covered in natural vegetation, it’s bush. Absolutely nothing has happened there which was the point of the challenge. If you’re going to undertake subdivisions in this country certain things must be done and there must be some infrastructure you just don’t go drawing lines in the middle of the bush and give it away to people you need roads, it needs water, it needs electricity. So that was about exposing that farce and making sure that the government itself complied with the law when it undertook that kind of activity but more than that it had to do with challenging the use of public resources to further private political advantage and the impropriety of that. That might well sound familiar to you now with the impeachment proceedings of Mr.Trump, we have it in a more blatant fashion, we have politicians gifting national lands at their political rallies and delivering certificates to potential voters in order to encourage the vote for a political party using public resources. It’s a fundamental problem that we have and one that we had hoped to address and correct. Unfortunately we’re still waiting on a decision on it.”
Renee Trujillo, Love FM News: And that’s the only thing pending, a decision?
Senior Counsel Andrew Marshalleck, Attorney at Law: “Yes.”
We have been unable to get an exact figure on how many cases are pending judgement from the Chief Justice. Love News is following this story as we understand that a formal complaint against the Chief Justice is imminent.