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Apr 29, 2019

Special Agreement Issue is ‘Very Much Alive’

Eamon Courtenay

Both parties are expected back before the Chief Justice until the end of June on the substantive matter which is on the legality of the Compromis. As you know, the claimants, the People’s United Party, have maintained that the 2008 Special Agreement is unconstitutional and have filed a cross-appeal in the Court of Appeal which meets for case management session in June.  The Opposition’s attorney Senior Counsel Eamon Courtenay told the Chief Justice that since the matter has been taken before the Court of Appeal, it must continue before that court instead of the Supreme Court. The P.U.P. appealed specifically the CJ’s ruling in which he stated that the party’s attorney did not present an arguable case as it relates to the constitutionality of the Special Agreement. According to Courtenay, since the new Belize Territorial Dispute Referendum law invokes the Special Agreement, it makes the matter worse. In court today, Chief Justice mentioned that the matter of the Special Agreement is very much alive.

 

Eamon Courtenay, Attorney for P.U.P.

“The Chief Justice as you know said that regardless of what happens next week the issue of the legality and constitutionality of the Special Agreement is very much alive. I mean the Chief Justice was simply commenting on something that was said but anybody who has some level of maturity, some level of decency, some level of trying to understand what is right for the country would listen and say wait, why don’t we let the court pronounce on this issue instead of continuing to spend millions upon millions of dollars. It is very much like the man from La Mancha.”

 

Lisa Shoman

Lisa Shoman, Attorney for G.O.B.

“That comment has to do with the fact that the claimants in this case have crossed appeal, contending that the Chief Justice’s ruling on the constitutionality point, not the writ, of the Special Agreement, they have appealed his ruling to the Court of Appeal. Remember that the Chief Justice said that they were no serious issued to be tried as far as that was concerned. The only issues that the court thought that there was something to examine had to do with the request and the writs. That request and those writs are by agreement of all spent. They are of no effect. The request of the Prime Minister referred specifically of a referendum on April tenth. The writs were issued for a referendum on April tenth. That date came and went without a referendum and so really the injunction even though it is still on paper it is exactly that, on paper. It has no effect on any referendum moving forward because the new referendum is issued under a different law than the previous writs meaning that it does not cite chapter ten of laws of Belize, the referendum act. So the live issue that the Chief Justice is talking about is really the matter of whether there are serious issues to be tried. So they are appealing that to the Court of Appeal.”

 

Eamon Courtenay

“It has become worse. The challenge that was first brought was in terms of the Special Agreement and a referendum act that did not mention the Special Agreement. They have now passed a piece of legislation and specifically relied on the agreement that we are challenging the constitutionality of. So it seems to me that wise counsel would be to step back and say wait, if in fact these claimants succeed, then the referendum will be infected with the same unconstitutionality that we will prevail in terms of the our challenge to the act. They is no reason, no good reason, at least none has been articulated with the public, as to why we are going with this indecent haste. So, they can proceed with their referendum knowing full well that there is likelihood and a real likelihood that it will be declared null and void.”


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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