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Feb 23, 1999

Acting Chief Justice sworn in

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Despite continuing controversy over the removal of Manuel Sosa as Chief Justice last week, today Justice Troadio Gonzalez was sworn in as Acting Chief Justice in Belmopan. The Governor General Sir Colville Young administered the oath of office at Belize House. Gonzalez has been a Supreme Court Judge since 1993. He studied law at the Norman Manley School of Law in Jamaica and worked as Crown Counsel in the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions from 1981 to 1988. He then served as Chief Magistrate until 1991 and was then promoted to the post of Director of Public Prosecutions until his appointment to the Supreme Court. Gonzalez takes over as Acting Chief Justice following a Supreme Court ruling last week that Manuel Sosa’s appointment as Chief Justice was unconstitutional. Sosa had been appointed just one day before the general elections in August. Prime Minister Said Musa had contended at the time that he was not adequately consulted by the then Attorney General Dean Barrow about the appointment, which included two other Supreme Court judges. Musa has maintained this stance and issued a statement yesterday which said that attempts by his government to resolve the situation by having Sosa resign and then be re-appointed failed. The Prime Minister said his government supports the Supreme Court’s decision to remove Sosa. However, Manuel Sosa’s attorney Denys Barrow indicated yesterday that his client will be seeking constitutional redress. Sosa and his attorney will argue that under the constitution only the Governor General, acting on the advice of the Belize Advisory Council can remove a Supreme Court Judge from office.

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