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The Supreme Court Delivers its Ruling on the Arzu VS Compol Lawsuit

The Supreme Court has issued its ruling on the second of two lawsuits that Corporal Eldon Arzu filed against Commissioner Chester Williams. Listeners will remember that back in May, Arzu won the first case surrounding his eligibility in running for President of the Belize Police Association. In this second part of the matter, however, the court has offered a mixed bag. Justice Sonya Young heard arguments from Arzu, his attorney, Nazira Myles and from the Police Commissioner and his attorney, Agassi Finnegan. Myles argued that Commissioner Williams did not follow the rules, which governs the Police Association’s internal leadership elections. She added that it was her client’s position that the COMPOL extended the nomination process, allowing Inspector Jane Usher and her slate to participate despite the passing of the deadline as determined by the rules. By doing this, Arzu’s attorney argued that Commissioner Williams was being biased. In conclusion, Justice Young noted in her twenty-three-page ruling that the court could not, quote, “…properly make a finding of bias, unreasonableness or substantive unfairness”. End of quote. Justice Young also said that the current state of affairs need not persist, adding, and we quote, “the case highlights the need for some change in the rules…perhaps, amendments could be considered which would allow, under certain specified conditions, that deadlines could be extended. In my humble opinion, it is important that the conditions be specific so that the exercise of discretion does not seem arbitrary”. End of quote. Not only did Justice Young say that Commissioner Williams’s decision to extend the nomination deadline did not invalidate nominations before January 2020, but any elections held after the first week of January were unlawful, null and void. While those do support Arzu’s overall arguments, Justice Young dismissed his claim for a declaration of bias in the COMPOL’s decision to postpone the elections. While his claim for damages were dismissed, Arzu was awarded legal costs of two thousand five hundred dollars.