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Jul 28, 2011

Will 9th deny rights of property owners to access the Courts?

Wilfred ‘Sedi’ Elrington

The bar issued a statement on Wednesday in which it says “the bar does not support the proposed amendment to the extent that it seeks to deny rights of property owners to access the courts to challenge nationalizations.” But according to the Foreign Minister, any aggrieved party would still be able to access the court. He says that a bad court decision, caused misconceptions about the ability of parliament to make such amendments.

Wilfred ‘Sedi’ Elrington, Foreign Minister

“The mischief arose because for about twenty-eight years nobody quarreled with that. Then about two years ago, Justice Conteh came up with the idea that it was not enough for you to comply with the provisions of section sixty-nine of the constitution and that you had to go for a referendum, which the Privy Council in the Alberto Vellos case against the Government of Belize immediately said, was wrong. And the pronouncement by the Privy Council is now part of our law—that in fact the position taken by the Chief Justice is wholly wrong and that to amend our constitution all the National Assembly needs to do is to comply with provision of section sixty-nine. That is all. And all this amendment is seeking out to do is to put that position as articulated by the Privy Council into the constitution itself so that it becomes an entrenched provision. And why do you do that? Because it avoids mischief, it avoids expense if the judge is bound only to look the provisions of sixty-nine and can’t go further afield, then it gives certainty to the process. You know for a fact that once you comply with the provisions of section sixty-nine, nobody can successfully tamper with it. So it gives certainty to the provision; even greater certainty.”

Jose Sanchez

“But an aggrieved party/business, whose property has been taken away, according to this; that person won’t be able to see that judge because legally it would be entrenched in the constitution. Won’t you be able to apply that to other cases?”

Wilfred ‘Sedi’ Elrington

“No, no, no. The aggrieved party, whose property has been taken away now, can still go to court and claim that the procedure adopted to amend this constitution, to allow for the entrenchment of the ownership in the government, was flawed.  It can go to court to argue that; however, it will be met with the response that the constitutional provision was scrupulously followed and once the constitutional provisions are scrupulously followed, then the judge can’t do anything about it.”

Jose Sanchez

“I think what the bar is saying is that they don’t have a problem with the procedure in which the constitution may be changed in the ninth. They are simply saying that the whole idea of separation of power; it’s changing the game, it’s changing this hallmark of who we are as a people and it takes away the power of the courts—even though it may be a legal thing.”

Wilfred ‘Sedi’ Elrington

“No, no, no. It doesn’t take away the power of the Court. The court still has, but you see, like the parliament, the court is bound by the constitution. we are all bound by the constitution. The Court has no more power than that which is given to it by the constitution.”

Jose Sanchez

“But wouldn’t it be a constitution that would be changed with the amendment?”

Wilfred ‘Sedi’ Elrington

“Yeah and the people can change the constitution. the people can change the constitution. And you may not like it, but if this is what the people want, then they can do it.”

Elrington says that those who still don’t understand the proposed amendment or would like to share their views on it will get to do so very soon. Public Consultations on the proposed ninth amendment start on the tenth of August.

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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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8 Responses for “Will 9th deny rights of property owners to access the Courts?”

  1. I Have Awaken says:

    Did Sedi really explain anything here, or simply a bunch of double speak?

  2. Rod says:

    You need to go also elrinton you are losing your mind sad situation a smart man who is losing his mind is very dangerous.

  3. Ricky Malthus says:

    But Sedi, how can you argue like you know how to reason and we don’t. Your reasoning and conclusion are dead wrong. Your line of reasoning is specious and your conclusion falls into the category of the Petitio principii of fallacious thinking. How can you justify that a man can still go to court knowing that the Judge will tell him his hands are tied and can’t make a decision as such decision has been enshrined in the Constitution which prohibits him from rendering a decision which is the plaintiff has no case against the government. You see this begs the question if one cannot go to the court to get redress for a wrong then where. But iI ask the Belizean people , Could this push by Barrow to amend the Constitution to bar landowners to go to court part of his plan to deny landowners their rights on land that the Barrows have as lease for oil search and production and they don’t want to be in court forever answering to payments? Juat a question.

  4. Belize says:

    The two groups are waste of time. The common belizean don’t have any idea what the Ninth tenth eleventh ammendment is all about. 75% of ordinary belizean don’t have a clue whats all the fuss and fight ting about. Go check. The ordinary Belizean right now is more concern about the high price of gasoline and the price the have to pay for a pound of sugar and a pack of bread and soon the high price for corn tortilla. The basic things. The bad street we are driving on. We the ordinary belizeans are tired of seeing the high paid attorneys on the news sayin a lot of BS which we don’t understand. All of them are singing for there supper. Audrey Matura aurthur saldivar and all the others that are speaking out have there own agenda. we have so many attorneys in this country and only a few speaks out. The march tomorrow will be flap. People get enough of COLA(kremandala organization) and Shakron(aspiring mayor PUP

  5. subKonshus says:

    According to Sedi’s explanation, the 9th Amendment will be put in place to prejudice any claims against the Government. Its like saying the Barrow Administration will now only be bound by 2 laws:
    1. The Barrow Administration is never wrong.
    2. If the Barrow Administration is ever wrong, then refer to rule 1.
    If you noticed, Sedi said that any property owner can still get access to the courts to , and the court will still has its power to rule. But the outcome of the case will always be in GOB favour…no matter which judge sits on the case or which law firm is being employed. Its like saying, “You will get a fair trial, then you will be hanged”. End of story.

  6. Roy Yates says:

    Ricky Malthus, you could be quite right about Borrow’s foresight about the land owners and the court. I want you to know that there are land in the South of Belize that Belizeans will never be able to touch, because its in the hands of dubious foreign owners long before the country got so-call indipendence. When you find out what foreign interest got the government to do to the Mayas in Guatemala you will be even more skeptical of Borrow. Those people were driven off their land by the military because the land is miniral rich and the foreign mining company paid off politicians.

    Folks, what the country need is some serious capital infusion, but it will be hard to convince decent investors that Belize is worth the gamble. This government want everything for Belizeans, they say, and many Belizeans are signing the same tune due to ignorance and party politics. I say to those that say keep out foreign investors, now you have the chance for Belizeans to come up with the much needed funds for the sugar industry, and keep it in the hands of Belizeans. How about the cane Farmers selling some Revenue Bonds to Belizeans to raise the funds?

  7. Indian Woman says:

    What we have here is failure to communicate. We in this country do not communicate.We talk a lot but that is not the same. We do not share important intelligent ideas.If we did, these idiots would not be here to be addressed.Now, where are our plans as a people for the next election? Remember, the beat goes on. All this is important to deal with now and we must address these current issues but the bigger picture is coming up. Who will succeed these idiots?The truth is, they all have to go.Briceno? Come on.. Espat? come on.I can name many more but I will not waste my time. Listen folks…. we have a crisis on our hands. No one is available.Think we have a problem now? Wait.

  8. belizeanpride says:

    this old skunk doens’t even know what he’s saying but just talking fool fool like we are fools listening but we aren’t. Once this amendment is on we’re screwed and can expect any dictation from the gob whoever it is, while we just watch helpessly as we are butchered. Mein what a stupid amendment does this barrow wants to put. Have he lost his mind or are we in dreamland? why don’t the gov. make an inquest to all belizeans even in the rural areas as to what do we prefer vote for it or vote against it and then we can call it for the interest of the Belizean people we’ve decide to do what the people voted for. BUT no barrow wants to do what he wants when he wants and ignorantly say forthe interest of the Belizean people before he ask us our opinions.

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