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Jan 6, 2016

Eamon Courtenay Says Court Order was Avoidable

Eamon Courtenay

According to Courtenay, the proprietor of Xtra House had been given the option previously to seek damages once the cargo is turned over to customs.  Why that alternative has not been pursued is anyone’s guess.  Here’s what the attorney had to say.

 

Isani Cayetano

“Does it appear to be in any way maybe a last ditch effort either to buy time for him to find a buyer outside of Belize, as to why he is placing this injunction that will allow him time until next Tuesday?”

 

Eamon Courtenay, Attorney, Belize Agro-productive Sector Group

“Again, I don’t know what is operating in his mind but it does seem to me that it is a rather strong move to take.  If Customs has said to you we are giving you an opportunity to take these containers out of Belize, the simple thing to do is to write the commissioner, visit the commissioner, the comptroller of Customs sorry and say I’m about to take them out or give me until next week but I will take them out.  Nobody would go for an order of forfeiture.  It seems to me that there may be something else operating which would then question why it is they told the Chief Justice that they have been given this option and they want to export.  It may be that something else is behind this application.  All of this will come out next week when it goes before the Chief Justice.  But it would seem to me that the first principle in granting an injunction is that an injunction is never granted where damages would be an adequate remedy.  And it seems to me that if Mr. Chawla doesn’t have access to his three containers of rice he has exhibited the invoice in the other proceedings, so everybody knows how much it cost him and if it is forfeited and the government does whatever he wants to do with it then he is entitled to the money he has spent, if the forfeiture order was made unlawfully.  So I find it interesting to see whether or not this injunction is going to be maintained.”

 

On Tuesday, Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin is expected to hear the matter and decide the fate of the rice containers in Big Creek. In a related note, earlier today, the Belize Energy Worker Union issued a statement calling on government not to destroy the rice. 

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