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Oct 25, 2011

Appeals Court rule; Ninth will be law

The two big stories for today have to do with the ninth amendment, which is now in effect and Hurricane Rina. We’ll have the latest on the hurricane that is moving slowly but closer to Belize, but the ninth amendment to the constitution, which is really the eighth, is now law. Ninety-four days after it was introduced in the House of Representatives, one of the most controversial pieces of legislation came into effect this afternoon.  It means that utilities: water, electricity and telecommunications are now state owned. Within minutes after a decision by the Court of Appeal, the legal report was prepared and the Governor General Colville Young put his signature to the Ninth Amendment to change the Constitution.  With the assent of the GG, the Ninth was rushed to Print Belize for immediate publication in an extraordinary issue of the Gazette. The enactment of the most debated piece of legislature succeeds the court ruling which rejected an application by Vaughn Gill and Ricardo Castillo to prevent Governor General temporarily from signing into law the amendment until a referendum is held.  Today’s decision affirms Justice Douglas Mendes’ ruling on Monday that the appeal did not have enough merit to be granted an injunction.  Over the weekend, a series of unusual sessions were held in the Court of Appeal which culminated this afternoon in a legal victory for the Government of Belize.  Its lead attorney on the matter, Denys Barrow spoke with the media following the decision.

Denys Barrow, Attorney for Government

Denys Barrow

“Anticipated it not with any certainty but because of what Justice Mendes had decided.  He had decided as we discussed yesterday that there was no real prospect of success on this appeal which, let us remember, was an appeal against the refusal of the Chief Justice to grant an interim injunction.  So there is a case which has been brought concerning the referendum.  This is not the hearing of the case.  This is simply, they wanted, they brought a claim, these two gentlemen, brought a claim and they said that they sought a number of declarations and they said that we want, while our claim is pending, we want you Chief Justice to stop the legislature from passing this act.  The Chief Justice considered the law including a determination made by the Privy Council in the Vellos Case.  He thought it was absolutely clear that you cannot by reference to the demand for a referendum stop the progression of legislation in the House.  The Privy Council made clear that there were two independent processes which are involved and one does not stop the other. There is a case I think it is by the Irish Supreme Court.  The name of it is Cahill against Sutton and it speaks to the need for courts to not allow their process to be used for political purpose.  Now of course there are, in many instances, legitimate instances where what is a political purpose is also a legal or a justifiable basis for a complaint.  But we are saying in this particular case and the Attorney General filed an affidavit yesterday indicating that these two persons who brought the claim yesterday are known operatives, known officers, functionaries at a significant level of the opposition People’s United Party and you see the quality of the representation that they have.  I am one of the most expensive attorneys in Belize and I don’t think I charge one-third what the attorney that they brought from England charges.”

Jules Vasquez

“Probably pro bono.”

Denys Barrow

“No doubt that is possible.  No doubt that is possible.”

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9 Responses for “Appeals Court rule; Ninth will be law”

  1. Earl Grey says:

    ARE WE SURPRISED?????????????

    Now the P.U.P. has ammunition with which to RUN A WINNING ELECTION.

  2. Real says:

    Yesterday I posted a comment which read :” it is highly likely that the Court of Appeal wiil dismiss Messrs Gill and Castillo’s appeal.” It was obvious that there was no solid ground of appeal. There was not even any good ground at the Supreme Court. This was Vellos cse a;ll over again with the claimants trying to get the courts to come to a different conclusion. The case was bound to fail right from the begining. Godfrey Smith does not realise that he is helping to make GoB’s private attorneys richer by bringing these hopeless claims.
    I also have to say that I feel sorry for the PUP because there is nothing to talk about now that the ninth is law. Maybe they will start talking about the divisions within their own party, because that is what needs to be sorted out by the PUP.

  3. Be Real says:

    Yesterday I posted a comment which read :” it is highly likely that the Court of Appeal wiil dismiss Messrs Gill and Castillo’s appeal.” It was obvious that there was no solid ground of appeal. There was not even any good ground at the Supreme Court. This was Vellos cse a;ll over again with the claimants trying to get the courts to come to a different conclusion. The case was bound to fail right from the begining. Godfrey Smith does not realise that he is helping to make GoB’s private attorneys richer by bringing these hopeless claims.
    I also have to say that I feel sorry for the PUP because there is nothing to talk about now that the ninth is law. Maybe they will start talking about the divisions within their own party, because that is what needs to be sorted out by the PUP!!

  4. Concerned Belizean says:

    I would like to see how much “one of the most expensive attorneys in Belize”, as he calls himself, is getting for this case. I guess he is the most expensive because being the corrupt PM’s brother, he puts the price and Dean O Burro, authorizes payment.

    Secondly, if it aint Lois, it is Denys, when is the nepotism going to stop? Shame, shame, shame. No worry, judgement time is near.

  5. check it out says:

    Imagine we thought Lois was expensive,, the Barrow clan legal fees is the UDPs accomodation agreement and superbond all in one!!!

  6. CEO says:

    When a court rules on your case Mr Barrow it adds strength and credibility but this was the same court you were trying to lock out of the process with the first draft.

    If you as the PM shows no faith in our judicial system then why would anyone else? Public service is difficult but regulations like this increases the difficulty of your job.

    The final Bill is better that the first draft and it withstood judicial scrutiny.

  7. Higher Level says:

    You mean to say that PUPs and persons with differing opinions cannot exercise their constitutional right and bring a matter to court, even when there are solid bases for it. By the way, the appeal which the court of appeal dismissed was only relating to the issue of an injunction. The real case has not been tried or heard as yet.

  8. rod says:

    corrupt pm and gov. making all his family rich while unu poor people who vote fu them go without food well that good fu unu i hope unu get more.

  9. S@GVILLE says:

    Well there goes our country,into the hands of Dean Barrow and his administration.They were taking advantage of people illegally but now they will have all power to do as the feel legally.What a way to go.All those people that were screaming i support the 9th amendment better get ready because their own party will kick them in the @$$.We as Belizeans have nothing to gain from what happen.That will make us unable to voice our opinion anymore due to fear of victimization.Only the rich people will gain,not that poor people ever benifited from anything that the goverment do.I hope we are ready for the wave of corruption coming at us.Don’t speak out against them because they will have the GSU plant something on you and take you straight to jail.It will be like playing monopoly when you get that go to jail card,”Go directly to Jail,do not pass go ,do not collect your freedom.”

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