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Jan 4, 2016

Supreme Court Rejects Jack Charles and Guyanese Rice

Jack Charles

In the Supreme Court earlier today, businessman Jack Charles lost his only option to legally examine the rationale behind a decision taken by the Government of Belize to confiscate a shipment of Guyanese rice.  The consignment of a hundred and fifty thousand pounds of prepackaged grain arrived via freight at the port in Big Creek on December seventeenth.  It has remained in detainment ever since, following a directive from the Belize Agricultural Health Authority, BAHA, not to release the containers.  To date, RC Imports, an entity owned by Jack Charles, has racked up roughly five thousand dollars in expenses related to the storage of the three containers.  He was optimistic that the bill would be footed by G.O.B. upon the conclusion of the matter; except, the outcome of an application for a judicial review was not favorable.  This morning, a battery of attorneys representing RC Imports, government, as well as three Mennonite communities, entered into a closed session in the chamber of Justice Sonya Young.  When that session came to an end, we learned that Charles’ request had been denied on the grounds that he did not possess an import permit to legitimately bring in rice from Guyana to begin with. 


Leroy Banner

Leroy Banner, Attorney, RC Imports

“What happened is that the court held that because there was no import permit and that was so important that because the importer did not have that import permit then what he did was unlawful and she would not grant leave to apply for judicial review.  She is pretty much saying that you needed the import permit and without that you cannot import the goods into Belize.”



“Is that Justice Sonya Young?”


Leroy Banner

“That is so.”



“This seems to be a very important loss, if I may put it that way.  Do you intend to take any redress to try to deal with this?  Can you appeal in any way?”


Leroy Banner

“Yes we can appeal but at this time we need to consult with our client and see what direction we’ll go.  But, according to the judge, Section Twenty-seven is so clear that I do not think that there is any merit in appealing this ruling.”



“So is this where the rice fight ends?”


Leroy Banner

“Like I said, I need to get direction from my client because what happened is that an issue has been raised as to the community law, whether or not the matter should be before the CCJ.  So we need to take directions from our client and see where we go from here.”

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