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May 11, 2016

P.U.P. Says There Was No Rationale Basis for Passage of Controversial Law

Now by definition, Civil Commotion is a legal term defined by common law as an insurrection of the people that’s of a magnitude little greater than a riot and a little less than a civil war. The P.U.P. contends that there was never any risk of that and there wasn’t a rational basis for the passage of the SI to restrict the freedom of movement of Belizeans. According to Marshalleck, there is a second declaration that is being sought from the court because the SI curtails the fundamental rights of Belize in the pursuit of political objectives.

 

Andrew Marshalleck, Attorney

“On that simple basis, we sought two declarations from the court–one as to the unconstitutionality of the SI and two, more specifically, that the exercise of the power to pass the regulation by the Governor General was outside the scope of authority conferred by the public safety act.”

 

Reporter

“Sir the issue of time; it will only be legally for about two more weeks. Constitutional motions aren’t usually held that expeditiously.”

 

Andrew Marshalleck

Andrew Marshalleck

“For sure; that is a practical consideration and one that we bear firmly in mind. But the consequence of it is that it is very likely, in fact near certainty, that by the time the claim comes on to hearing, the law would effectively have been spent in that the thirty day period for which the restriction is to last would have expired. What that means is that the consideration of the legality of it then becomes somewhat academic in that the court is being asked to consider the legality of a law that’s no longer enforced, in practically terms.”

 

Reporter

“Do you think that perhaps the determination of the courts will act as a deterrent to the government to not pass such a law in the future?”

 

Andrew Marshalleck

“Well the fact that the issue becomes academic is a hurdle that will have to be surmounted in order to get a hearing on the merits of the claim. Again, it is a significant hurdle, one that we are aware of, but the reason why the claim is being pursued, nonetheless, is we done think….well first of all, we think that the law is motivated really by political consolations and we don’t think that resort should be had to methods that curtail fundamental rights so readily; the fundamental rights of Belize in the pursuit of political objectives.”

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