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Feb 24, 1999

U.D.P. protests removal of Chief Justice

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The United Democratic Party picketed the Supreme Court this morning to protest last week’s ruling that the appointment of Chief Justice Manuel Sosa was unconstitutional. Sosa was subsequently served with an order removing him from that office. This morning members of the party showed their dissatisfaction with the Supreme Court ruling and the government’s position that the appointment just one day before the general elections was hasty, and that the then Leader of the Opposition Said Musa had not been properly consulted by Prime Minister Manuel Esquivel. News Five spoke with the Leader of the Opposition Dean Barrow about the protest and his current position on the issue.

Dean Barrow, Leader of the Opposition, U.D.P.

“To express the outrage of the United Democratic Party over the illegal removal of the Chief Justice and all that signals for our democracy. Let’s assume for argument’s sake that the U.D.P. government was wrong in making the last minute appointment and I don’t for one minute think that was wrong. But for the sake of argument sake, surely that does not give the government in place the right to use this back door, improper, illegal, unconstitutional method to remove a man that all of Belize accepts. An honest, good, proper Chief Justice and that is my position.”

Q: “At this time what would be your recommendation to the government right now?”

Dean Barrow

“I have gone on record in saying that the government needs to put this sorry episode behind us as a country and reappoint Mr. Sosa to remove all question of doubt and controversy. Simply reappoint Mr. Sosa.”

The demonstrators picketed around the Treasury Building and down Albert and Regent Streets. Earlier this week the Prime Minister issued a statement supporting the Supreme Court ruling. Musa has indicated that the government will be looking to the Caribbean for a suitable candidate to fill the vacancy. In the meantime, Troadio Gonzalez has been sworn in as Acting Chief Justice.

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