Back in June, Acting Chief Justice Michelle Arana ordered that the Government of Belize pay the Mayan village of Jalacte and village resident Jose Ical. The case dates back to 2016 and the then UDP government was sued for damages for the acquisition and use of villagers’ land. The claimants argued that the government failed to follow the 2015 CCJ Consent Order. The Acting Chief Justice agreed and ruled against the government. That ruling was handed down on June 16 and the government had twenty-one days to appeal the ruling. The deadline was missed and an extension was requested and granted. There was also a new piece of legislation introduced in the House that amends the Court of Appeal Act to enlarge the time limit for appealing. We asked AG Magali Marin Young about it.
Magali Marin Young, Attorney General: “I believe that the Court of Appeal will be hearing that application in very short order and that’s as much as I could comment on that.”
Reporter: Wasn’t there an amendment to the Court of Appeal’s Act that could perhaps assist the government in this case where they would not necessarily have to apply for an extension ?
Magali Marin Young, Attorney General: “I’m not sure that it could be said as it would assist. That amendment actually should have been introduced from the first part of the year. The acting president had identified from she had assumed office that we needed to amend that section. But we were hoping to put forward a comprehensive slew of amendments and Madam DPP also indicated she would want to advocate for some amendments to that act as well. So that amendment was requested from very early on this year it just wasn’t introduced because we were hoping to include it with others. It having been introduced well I don’t know if the courts will – that will be something for the court’s discretion and I really don’t want to speak for them.”