Belize - Belize News - Channel5Belize.com - Great Belize Productions - Belize Breaking News
Home » Featured, Trials » P.U.P. – 2, G.O.B. – 0, No Referendum on April Tenth
Apr 8, 2019

P.U.P. – 2, G.O.B. – 0, No Referendum on April Tenth

Both the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeal were in session today as Belizeans waited anxiously for what is to happen on April tenth. Would the referendum stand?  We will have full coverage of this extraordinary day from the ruling of the court to a late evening press conference by the prime minister.  The day began at nine o’clock before the Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin who was scheduled to hear arguments on the substantive case of an interim injunction granted last Wednesday.   The Chief Justice adjourned that hearing to give way to the Court of Appeal. Attorneys for the claimants, as well as for the government, then headed over to the Court of Appeal.  First, the preliminary arguments were whether or not the court should expeditiously hear the appeal by the government on the interim injunction.  After hours of submissions inside a packed courtroom including Commonwealth observers, around five this afternoon, the Court of Appeal made a ruling. It provides clarity as to Wednesday.  Here is Senior Counsel Eamon Courtenay:

 

Eamon Courtenay

Eamon Courtenay, Attorney for P.U.P.

“Just a short while ago, the Court of Appeal announced that it had reached a decision that it does not have jurisdiction to entertain the appeal that the prime minister and others wanted to present to the Court of Appeal and therefore they refused the application for an urgent hearing of the appeal.”

 

Reporter

“So what happens now?  What is the next step if they decide, as the AG had said that they are thinking the C.C.J.?”

 

Eamon Courtenay

“Well if they are thinking the C.C.J., the procedure is laid out.  They would have to get special leave from the C.C.J. and the C.C.J. would probably deal with that as the hearing of the appeal.  There is a logistical problem, I mean it’s twenty-four hours basically.  So I mean, the C.C.J. has met in urgent sessions like this before, but I think it’s really for the government to decide what they are going to do.”

 

Reporter

“Sir, what do you make of the court’s ruling and the reasoning?”

 

Eamon Courtenay

“Well I think the law was on the side of the respondents.  We referred to cases that had already been considered by this court, that a decision that had been made by this court.  I think Mr. Williams attempted to try to get around the cases that had already been decided by this court.  Insofar as this is concerned, what it says is that when you want to make an urgent application to the Court of Appeal, you must come by another way and it is not for me to advise them on what the proper procedure could have been but clearly they chose the wrong route.”

 

Reporter

“Senior counsel do you think there is any way in hell that we will get to this referendum on Wednesday, looking at the logistics and looking at the timeframe?”

 

Eamon Courtenay

“Well, I mean as you heard, one of the issues was that the Chief Elections Officer had told her officers to proceed notwithstanding. I will hope that good sense will prevail and she would now issue an email and say listen, “dehn come with a left hook, dehn give wi wah upper cut; mek wi chill because after this.” I mean the C.C.J. would then just knock them out cold.  As I said, we relied on decided cases.  I think the law in this area is clear.  I think my learned friends were well aware that they had a very difficult case and in a matter like this for the C.C.J. to take it up as an urgent basis and to hear it because you have to be clear to them that the Court of Appeal has made a mistake and therefore they will grab it and correct it in time. My sense is that the government would not be able to show the C.C.J. at this stage overnight, that there is such a glaring error by the Court of Appeal that the C.C.J. has to grab it in order for the referendum to be held. And I think that it is important that the Belizean people know that there is sworn evidence before the court that the government issued a press release and the Attorney General also stated that the referendum can be delayed. So, mature reflection is what is required. There is no point paying more legal fees, there is no point going to the C.C.J. over this. The point o the matter is that they came by the wrong route and I think that they must just accept that and like the party leader said, hit the pause button.”


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.

Advertise Here

Leave a Reply

CAPTCHA Image
*