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Mar 29, 2019

Who’s Paying Lisa Shoman?

Former Foreign Minister Lisa Shoman is batting heavily for the Government of Belize, coming out as one of its chief advocates for going to the I.C.J.  During the prime minister’s press conference on Thursday, Shoman, who is also representing government in the Special Agreement challenge, quoted Judge Schwebel’s responses to many of the questions posed to him in respect of his legal opinion.  But the question that has been on the minds of many is Shoman’s remuneration as the I.C.J. champion.  That question was put to PM Barrow flatly, but first here is Shoman’s recital of Judge Schwebel’s legal opinion.


Lisa Shoman

Lisa Shoman, Former Foreign Minister

“Is the legal opinion as determinative today as it was in 2001?  Schwebel says, “In my view is as valid and dispositive today as it was in 2001.  There have been no developments in international law that question or affect the findings of that opinion.  Indeed there have been judgments and advisory opinions of the International Court of Justice that sustain the conclusions in the legal opinion.  Two: Is Belize responsible for any breach of the 1859 Treaty, for example, Article 7 says, “any obligation which Britain might have, which it denies, towards Guatemala for any alleged breach of the treaty does not devolve on Belize.  Belize is not responsible for the consequence of any breach by the UK of Article 7 of the 1859 Treaty, even assuming that the UK could be held responsible.  Belize has clear and unencumbered title by law to the territories whose boundaries with Guatemala are set out in the 1859 Treaty.  Three: Does the Maritime Areas Act hurt Belize‘s case?  Schwebel says, “Belize did not give up any rights to any parts of its maritime areas assured by UNCLOS, nor did Guatemala gain any such rights.  Four: Schwebel notes, implausibly, meaning fantastical or unbelievable, that some people say that the 1992 Joint Statement, quote, rubbishes the 1859 Treaty.  Schwebel says, “Far from prejudicing Belize’s case, the 1992 Joint Statement significantly sustains that case, it was used to good effect in Belize’s legal presentation to the panel of facilitators at the O.A.S. on May 22nd, 2015 and can be used to similar effect at the I.C.J.”


Prime Minister Dean Barrow

“Yes, we have retained Miss Shoman’s law firm and of course, we are paying her as would pay any other lawyer.  Quite frankly, given how much work she is doing and how much she is master or mistress of the brief, I personally feel we are not paying her enough.”

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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