The Government of Belize is seeking additional time from the Supreme Court for an appeal to be submitted over its ruling of the Jalacte case. The Acting Chief Justice, Michelle Arana had awarded the residents of Jalacte Village six point three million dollars. Arana’s ruling was based on the conclusion that the Barrow Administration violated the customary land rights of the Jalacte Villagers when it paved a road through the village. But, since the court delivered its ruling back in June, GOB has been adamant in saying that the judgment will be appealed. And, according to Minister of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs Dolores Baldaramos Garcia, GOB’s attorneys are working on ab extension of time for the appeal to be submitted.
Dolores Balderamos – Garcia, Minister of Human Development, Families and Indigenous People’s Affairs: “The attorneys are working on an extension of time for the appeal because we didn’t make the twenty one days because of some little logistical problems but clearly the case will be appealed. We have noticed in relation to the court that in different cases there have been different approaches and so the issue at hand are far from resolved and that is why we feel as a responsible government that the appeal must go through and the attorneys are working on it. I believe that Marine Parade Chambers and Courtney Coye LLP are the law firms that will be involved with the appeal but definitely because of the important issues of demarcation and other matters in relation to the customary land rights it’s necessary for the appeal to go forward. So it will happen.”
Also speaking on the Jalacte land issue is the Minister responsible for lands, Cordel Hyde.
Cordel Hyde, Minister of Natural Resources: “I can’t speak to matters before the court. I can’t say for sure whether an appeal has been lodged but I’m almost certain that it has been lodged. I know there was some delay but I believe we have dealt with that but don’t hold me to that because it’s actually the Attorney General’s ministry that’s dealing with the appeal and they’re the ones who have to deal with it in court for and on behalf of the people and government of Belize.”