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Aug 2, 2011

9th Amendment: access to the courts; a question of procedure or content?

There is growing criticism and unease to the proposed Ninth Amendment to the constitution which the Bar Association says it will likely challenge in the courts. There are ninety days in which public consultations are required before the proposal goes back to the House for approval, but the topic is already getting a great deal of attention on the airwaves. On Monday night, three senators went head to head with the new Solicitor General Cheryl Krusen and the Foreign Minister Wilfred “Sedi” Elrington during a panel discussion on Love FM.  Who won? Well, that’s for you to decide. Reacting this morning was Hubert Elrington, a former government minister and the older brother of the Foreign Minister. My co-host William Neal asked him if access to the courts was a question of procedure or content. This is Elrington’s view.

Hubert Elrington, Attorney

Hubert Elrington

“That is the crux of the whole matter. There is no other question like it. That is the question that solves and decides the issue. My brother came down very heavily on the position that once the procedure is gone through, the Solicitor General—I still don’t know where that solicitor general has come from—my brother and his new solicitor general are saying that once the procedure is complied with, so there is no content in their world. Where they exist and where they think and where they do their work, content is not important. That’s why I’ve said that the question is not a procedural question; the question is a content question. What is the will of the people? Have you consulted? If you have not consulted, go back and consult. That’s the judge. But they are now saying the judge will not get to say that because all they have to do is show that they followed a procedure. In other words, they have the two-thirds majority to vote. The court has the duty to ask them, you see section sixty-nine requires a—I call it a cooling off period of ninety days? That is for consultation.”

We’ll have more from Hubert Elrington later in the newscast.

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1 Response for “9th Amendment: access to the courts; a question of procedure or content?”

  1. Elgin Martinez says:

    Why are people making a big deal over this law?This law isn’t going to do anything to decrease crimes in the Jewel.Reason is that a judge or a jury can’t convict without evidence.What this PM needs to do is ensure that speedy trials are conducted so the victims can get some form of justice.Most cases in the Jewel are tried after a period of two to three years when all the evidence has gone missing or the witness or witnesses to the crime has forgotten what transpired.I am going to say it again,”the problem as it relates to convictions in Belize has nothing to do with been tried by a judge or jury”.The problem is witness or witnesses intimidation and a lock of evidence to convict.I don’t care how many law schools you attended the bottom line is that to convict you must have evidence.As a result having a trial by Judge without evidence is useless.

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