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Sep 18, 2017

Lawyers’ Group Hopes C.J. Will Keep His Word

Pricilla Banner

But what is behind the situation? Is it simply that the Chief Justice, contending with a court operating on a slender thread of resources and facing an increasingly litigious society, has become overworked? The Bar says it allowed for that and it is now up to him to lessen that work with the schedule he himself set. As for why it is taking the matter up, Banner says they owe it to their clients to see justice done to the very end.

 

Pricilla Banner, President, Bar Association of Belize

“We are officers of the Court and we must treat the Court with respect; but we are answerable to the citizenry of this country. They are the persons, they are the taxpayers, they are the persons who have legal issues that must be resolved; and we must never lose sight of the fact that justice is there for them, and that they are getting it at every opportunity. So the difficulty I have with that is that yes, we must have respect for the courts, but we have a fundamental obligation to litigants, to make sure that they get fairness, that they get justice, and that they get it in good and reasonable time. We did consider that; that was very much debated, and I think the position that was ultimately arrived at is that the Honorable Chief Justice himself has set that schedule.”

 

Reporter

“In other words, he’s telling you: ‘I can deliver at this pace and judgment without compromising my other work?’”

 

Pricilla Banner

“Yes; so the Bar Association has not imposed anything on the Honorable Chief Justice; the Bar Association has accepted the Chief Justice’s word that this is what His Lordship is able to produce, within the timeline specified. So the Bar has not imposed anything. It has accepted his statement at its word, and saying, I have faith that you will deliver in accordance with your schedule.”

 

A glance at the schedule reveals several major cases. On October twentieth, the cases of Darrel Usher and Yolanda Schakron and Social Security Board and Sunshine Holdings Limited are due, followed on the twenty-seventh by the Attorney General and Belize Social Development Limited. On November seventeenth, Glenn Tillett’s judgment is due in his suit against Lois Young and Nestor Vasquez. On the twenty-fourth, a land case between the Village Council of Cotton Tree and the Attorney General; and on December first, Bernadette Pickwoad versus Maude Williams. On December eighth, the long-awaited judgment for Gaspar Vega and Ramon Cervantes Junior is listed, nearly two years after it was due in 2015.

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