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Nov 30, 2017

A Way the Belize Bank Can Still Get Their Money

Magali Marin-Young

The Prime Minister seemed to argue on Wednesday that a vote in parliament, either way, would be the end of the matter. But Senior Counsel Magali Marin-Young says not so. She suggests that if such a vote comes to pass, the matter would go back to the courts because the Constitution, and not parliament, is supreme. The Bank, she says, can seek remedy at the court in a Constitutional motion alleging arbitrary deprivation of property.

 

Magali Marin-Young, Constitutional Lawyer

“If they decide to vote against the payment, there are other avenues available to the Belize Bank. Because our Constitution is supreme – parliament is not supreme; the National Assembly is not supreme. It cannot defy a court order; it cannot seek to re-litigate this issue by voting no. So if it votes no that would be tantamount to an arbitrary deprivation of property.”

 

Marleni Cuellar

“Which means?”

 

Magali Marin-Young

“Which means, because I have a valid debt, you decide you are going to withhold funds and not pay me, that decision by you in effect amounts to an arbitrary decision by you to deprive me of a valid debt that I have. What the Belize Bank can ultimately do, because the Constitution of Belize is ultimately supreme, not Parliament – the arbitrary deprivation of poverty is a breach of a fundamental right, and the Belize Bank can go before the courts and bring a Constitutional claim and say, by Parliament refusing to pay, allocating funds to pay, and taking a deliberate decision not to pay, this is an arbitrary deprivation of poverty, and ask the court to fashion a remedy to declare that it is so and to award damages. Those damages would be to compensate them for their loss, which would be their arbitral award plus interest. Once the Belize Bank has such a declaration and the court agrees with them, then the Supreme Court of Belize has, under Section twenty, the power to fashion a remedy, to compel the Government of Belize, the Minister of Finance, to pay that money.”

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