Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin came into the crosshairs of the Belize Bar Association’s scope in 2017 when the Bar passed a resolution demanding that he deliver judgments for 32 delayed cased. That demand from the Bar Association came with a thinly veiled threat to file for his removal from office for misconduct. Since then the Bar has been mute about the CJ. However, Attorney Kareem Musa and his parliamentary colleague Julius Espat agreed to disagree on the topic of the CJ.
Julius Espat Chairman: “Less than five percent conviction rate in this country, less than five percent and you will tell me that people have respect. Government spends and budgets one percent of the entire annual budget on the Judiciary system, 1% and we have a serious problems with corruption and crime and we are refusing to invest where it needs to be invested and that’s what I am trying to explain to guys, we are running this country by remote control, we are no analysis at all as to where the problem is like they are not interested at all and I am telling you they have got to go, we have to change them, there is no other way.”
Kareem Musa: “Just on that point I think that your question was really rhetorical Jose because you hit the nail on the head and there has been a complete break down in the rule of law in this country when you do not have security of tenure for judges and in fact judges are awarded for extensions on their contract based on how they rule in favor of the Government. That is why our people say the system is bogus and who is to say, none of us can say that those ICJ judges cannot be influenced, they are men just like the judges that sit on our court in the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeal, just like everyone of us.”
Jose Sanchez: “Last year the Bar Association made a big deal about the Chief Justice having very late judgment and association with being quiet as an Attorney and as a member of parliament can you please comment?”
Kareem Musa: “I believe that the Chief Justice has from the last update that I received he has made up for the delayed judgments and I believe he is up to schedule now on the judgments.”
Julius Espat Chairperson: “On a personal level I don’t see it like that. I have two cases right now that have been waiting for the longest but they are political cases so I can understand why the judgments are not coming forward.
Kareem Musa: “I think about two or three cases that are pending and I believe that it’s the Cotton Tree.”
Julius Espat Chairperson: “Cotton Trees and the Appeals of when I was kicked out of parliament.”