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Apr 10, 2014

B.T.L. Employees Trust comment on pending judgment on nationalization of Telemedia

Justice delayed is justice denied… This afternoon, the B.T.L. Employees Trust issued a statement in respect of a long pending judgment on the constitutionality of the second nationalization of Telemedia which was argued back in October 2012. The first nationalization case was heard in 2011 when the court declared the nationalization to be unconstitutional, but that decision was “neutered by a defiant government that simply refused to obey the judgment and re-nationalized the companies with a second round of legislation.” In its release, the Trust says it is deeply concerned about the continuing failure of the Belize Court of Appeal to hand down judgment. As we said, the case was argued back in 2012 and up until now, a decision has not been delivered nor has compensation been paid. According to the Trust between October thirteenth, 2013 and now, there have been at least four occasions when the decision has been delayed, the most recent being in April tenth. The Trust notes that the judgment has been outstanding for so long that one of the three judges who heard the case has since opted not to renew his contract and is therefore no longer a judge of the Belize Court of Appeal. Then the two-year contract of judge, Justice Samuel Awich, expires on May fifteenth, 2014. And According to the Trust, “The question of whether this judge is seeking renewal of his contract from the Government of Belize whilst writing a judgment in this case is obviously of grave concern to the Trust, since any decision about contract renewal is in the hands of the government which is the other party in this case.” The release ends by saying that the possibility that a judge writing a decision in a case of the highest national importance to the government, whilst at the same time applying to the government for renewal of his contract can only diminish confidence in the judiciary and in the rule of law. Click here for a full view of the release.

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