The Government of Belize and the People’s United Party were back in court today for case management at the Court of Appeals. A decision from the Court of Appeal is what is now needed in order to wrap up the matter before the Chief Justice, Kenneth Benjamin. Initially, it was Benjamin who brought an injunction against the April 10 Referendum, citing that a review of the now-expired writ would be necessary. The writ has since expired and with that the PUP filed a cross appeal in the Court of Appeal, reference the constitutionality of the Special Agreement which the Chief Justice found to be sound. Coming out of the court room this morning was one of Government’s attorneys, Senior Counsel Lisa Shoman.
Lisa Shoman SC- GOB Attorney: “The persons who are the respondents which is Michael Espat and the other Honorables who have taken on the matter are cross-appealing and they are cross-appealing the ruling of the CJ having to do with the constitutionality of the Special Agreement, the Constitution of Belize and other issues. In other words the things that they failed to succeed on before the Supreme Court so they are still challenging that so today was just about setting timelines and deadlines so what has been decided is that the court will look to see if they can set this in June, they are looking to see if there is space in the calendar possibly in the second week that they are sitting to hear us and then they have given directions that we are to put in written submissions by the 5th of June. This case needs to be heard before the matter can actually continue before the Chief Justice and not just heard but really and truly get a decision. That is going to be the challenge for the Court of Appeal to hear and then to render a decision with or without written judgment as to what it is that the ruling will be so that for the Government’s side really the decisions is the ruling on the Chief Justice and the two questions that he said were serious. For the other side it is the matter of the two serious questions as regarding the constitutionality so that those really are preliminary issues that is before the Supreme Court and if that were not complicated enough on the last occasion when we were in court Mr. Courtenay indicated to the court that they would re-amend their claim form pending the results of next week, clean it up and put in their thing now. Just so we understand what that means their claim form was amended once, it was amended again and it has been amended once more so that they are trying to square up now the circumstances on the ground with what they have actually asked the court to look at so that all of that will remain pending. Of course in the meantime, next week May 8th International Women’s Day will also be Referendum in Belize and Belizeans will go out and vote. I sincerely hope it is at a very high number, I think interest is high and vote to decides whether we go to the ICJ or not.”
Written submissions are due by both parties on June 15, 2019.//////