Finding Judges: A.G. Says Belizeans are Preferred
The Supreme Court faces an absence of judges to hear cases, particularly in the Northern Session. Justice Herbert Lord has been on sick leave since January, after suffering a broken tendon in a foot. Meanwhile, Justice Troadio Gonzalez is retired and restricted to wrapping up previous cases. There are presently three judges tackling the heavy backlog of cases – Justice Denis Hanomansingh in the South, covering Punta Gorda and Dangriga; Justice Antoinette Moore in the unofficial “Western District” of Belmopan and the rest of Cayo; and Justice Adolph Lucas in Belize City. The Attorney General’s Ministry is looking to fill the gaps and Attorney General Michael Peyrefitte told us that the search is on for judges to sit on Belize’s bench. They are looking for the best candidates, but with all other things being equal, would Belizean judges be preferred? The A.G. says absolutely, from his personal view, but it is up to them.
Michael Peyrefitte, Attorney General
“I am told an advertisement will be put out, both locally and regionally, for judges to fill the post, and that’s where we’re at. Because we don’t want to just select people; we want everybody from the region who is qualified to sit, to apply and then at the point we can start to interview people and select the best possible people to sit on the bench.”
“All other things being equal, would Belizeans be preferred to sit?”
“From a personal standpoint and as a Belizean, absolutely. To have more Belizeans on the bench is what I would prefer because as a true-born Belizean-to-the-bone type of person that is what I would want to see; but, Belizeans also have to want to sit on the bench. And if we don’t have the good qualified people who can sit on the bench but don’t want to sit on the bench, then we would have to look in the region and elsewhere or the Commonwealth to see who would want to do it. But of course, as a Belizean, I would prefer to see Belizeans on the bench. As a Belizean – and that’s not saying anything about the good foreign judges that we’ve had so far – but as a Belizean, I would want to see more Belizeans take up the challenge, the responsibility, to serve our country and sit on the bench.”