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Jun 28, 2011

Chamber of Commerce tells government to follow rule of law

Kay Menzies

One organization that has come out against nationalization is the Belize Chamber of Commerce and Industry. For that position taken in respect of the acquisition of Belize Electricity Limited, it was subjected to political blows from the government. It is now on the side of the rule of law, following Friday’s decision of the Court of Appeal. Today, News Five spoke to the Chamber President Kay Menzies about the latest press release in which it implores the government to respect the courts.

Kay Menzies, President, Belize Chamber of Commerce and Industry

“The right to own private property is key in our democracy; it’s one of the most important things. Everybody as they grow up, they aspires to own a house, a piece of property—maybe have a farm and so on and so forth. And there are times when that ownership comes under dispute—either you as my neighbor might take over piece of my property and build something on it and we need to go to court or the government might decide they want to build a road through my property and my property is the only alternative they have and they might opt to acquire that property for public purpose or some other reason we might end up in a dispute over that property. Right now what we have in the law of our land is the right to go to court—to carry that dispute to court and argue it out there. The other alternative is too messy. So the notion is if I’m in a dispute with you, Jose, I will take you to court. We will go, we will argue it out with our lawyers, we will present case law; we will do what it takes to get that through the court procedure and then at some point, a judge will make a decision according to the law as he follows it. Does the law say that I am right or does the law say that you’re right? And that decision—there is an appeals process and you go through and you carry it as far as you can. All we did yesterday when we sent out that release was to remind everybody that there is a process. Now the moment you try or start to ignore that process or pretend that process doesn’t exist or more away from that process in any way, you’re undermining the rule of law in general. Let’s say for example the judge finds that you stole a piece of my property and you went and built a tool shed on it. You won’t pay me for the property even though the judge told you to.  Then at that point, that’s when society gets messy because maybe I’m the sort of person that decides to take the law into my own hands and we have an argument and fists fly or whatever. The notion of courts of law was to solve those disputes without that kind of activity happen—that you could solve it peacefully and move on with life. And all we are asking is to remember that the rule of law exists to keep society together and that the rule of law in this case needs to be followed even while the appeals process is also followed.”

Jose Sanchez

“But what If I have the ability to change the rule of law? Would you still agree then?”

Kay Menzies

“If you have the ability to change the rule of law, then more than ever you are a custodian of the law, you are responsible for the law performing as it should and you hold an even higher responsibility to uphold the rule of law because guess what, you’re with the one with the power to make that law. To me, having a certain responsibility or certain ability and a certain power gives you deeper responsibility to make sure that things go right.”

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3 Responses for “Chamber of Commerce tells government to follow rule of law”

  1. Lucas says:

    Well said. The Last time the Chamber of Commerce threatened to withhold sale tax during the Musa Administration; WHAT ARE THEY GOING TO DO NOW?

  2. Independent? says:

    I am not worried about foreign investments leaving. I believe that is the reason we had that group that was formed in Washington a few months ago. What their name again? Friends of Belize’s (Natural Resources) ?

  3. Gil says:

    The court has made a ruling that btl take over by government was “unconstitutional”
    And many of us belizean people agree and  believed the court ruling was Right.  
    The Pm has disrespect and breaks the law, is he greater than the law? So is our leader and so we will, 
    The Belizean people are fallowing  the Pm barrow foots step, he violate the law of Belize so we can do so because we are greater than the law. The law is worthless under the udp government,   Mr. Pm you have to admit and apologize to the nation of Belize that you have broken the law of Belize.
    MR.PM PUT IN MIND THAT NO ONE IS ABOVE OUR LAW, THE LAW IS GREATER THAN YOU!!!!

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