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Jul 27, 2011

Bar Association says 8th Amendment restricts rights and freedoms

Jacqueline Marshalleck

The country’s constitution has been under much debate and discussion on morning talk shows and nightly newscasts. The proposed ninth amendment is getting its fair share of protest, but earlier today the Bar Association of Belize sent out a twenty-five page concept paper that thoroughly discussed the merits and demerits of the Belize Constitution (Eighth Amendment) Bill 2011. The release came on the heels of the government’s quashing of the preventative detention measure, which was also bundled in the Eighth.  The Bar Association rejected Preventative Detention in the form in which it was laid out and also had harsh criticisms about trials by judge without the presence of a jury. According to the President of the Bar Association, Jacqueline Marshalleck, some of the proposed amendments “restrict some of the fundamental rights and freedoms guaranteed by our Constitution…there is a need to improve the conviction rate of accused persons, but this should not be used as a justification to erode fundamental freedoms, or to radically change our legal system.” News Five Spoke to Marshalleck about the Eighth.

Jacqueline Marshalleck, President, Bar Association

“The Bar Association back in June we had our meeting of the membership and we put forward to the membership the question of whether or not if they support the various amendments proposed in 8th amendment bill. Certainly at that meeting there were votes of yes and no to the issue. But we decided to put it a step further and we formed a subcommittee that will look at not just only the Belize’s constitution 8th amendment, but also the amendments proposed to the juries act, indictable procedure act, the Supreme Court adjudicature act as well. All those amendments were sent to a subcommittee and we today released a position paper on all of those bills—I think they were initially tabled back in May. The position paper says very clearly where we stand in relation to those amendments and we try very hard to put forward recommendations to government and for the general public also to be aware of the recommendations that we think would help because we are sympathetic to what it is we think government is trying to do and achieve in relation to the system particularly in relation to crime. But there is certain amendment s that we do not support. We certainly do not support preventative detention certainly not in its current form. We believe that the decision to take away the right to jury trials in relation to certain indictable offences; we’re not in agreement with that. And we are asking government to come back to the table to reconsider what was done in relation to the juries. So the paper was release today, we will try to get it out to the members of the general public as well. We hope to launch our website this week as well and we’ll put a copy on the website. But certainly persons can contact the association who would like to get a copy.”

We’ll have a detailed analysis of the Bar’s recommendations on Thursday’s newscast.

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Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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4 Responses for “Bar Association says 8th Amendment restricts rights and freedoms”

  1. Earl Grey says:



  2. Smantha says:

    The bible said never judge or put a finger because every one is a sinner :

  3. Jamaal Kennon says:

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  4. Kathie Dargenio says:

    When you see yourself writing an content, be creative. You aren’t required to be an expert at what you do.

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