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Oct 31, 2019

Belize Hosts 6th C.A.J.O. Conference

In Belize City this morning, a conference began bringing together the judicial arm of the courts from the entire region, including the Caribbean Court of Justice.  The conference will be discussing a number of important judicial issues that will lead to an improvement of the administration of justice including reform and the ethical expectations of judges. Here is News Five’s Hipolito Novelo.

 

Hipolito Novelo, Reporting 

Judicial officers from across the Caribbean region gathered in Belize City for the sixth Biennial Caribbean Association of Judicial Officers (CAJO) Conference. The conference is being held under the theme: Judicial Integrity – The Pathway to Public Trust and Confidence”. The Conference brings together Chief Justices, Judges, Magistrates, Masters, Registrars, and Executive Court Administrators aimed at creating an environment where both regional practitioners and academics can discuss emerging areas of law, best practices and new ideas for improving the delivery of justice throughout the region.

 

Dean Barrow

Prime Minister Dean Barrow 

“The reason for being of the organization is a first class one continuing education for judges so that the quality of justice can always be at a level of which we in the region can be proud. The keynote speaker was absolutely first class., a great deal of research and what he had to say about judicial conduct and how judges must comport themselves I thought it was on point.”

 

Interim Chairman of CAJO and C.C.J. Justice Peter Jamadar says the conference covers a range of topics including the rights of indigenous persons, and judicial reform.

 

Peter Jamadar

Peter Jamadar, Justice, C.C.J.

“The range of topics run from pre trial delay, judicial stress, gender sensitivity and adjudication. It covers things like criminal trial; It covers the rule of law, indigenous people rights, the environment and delay.”

 

Adrian Saunders, President, C.C.J. 

“We try to look at the judicial officer as a whole person so we try to deal with the judicial officer efficiency, with their competence, level of public trust that they can get. Also with their own bodies, with their mental and physical health.”

 

Participants will also discuss the backlog of judgments which like many Caribbean States, Belize has had issues with. C.C.J. President says one of the solutions to this judicial hurdle is to publish an agreed timeframe by when judgments should be handed down.

 

Adrian Saunders

Adrian Saunders

“One of the ways we try to combat it is to encourage judiciaries to compile performance standards and to publish those performance standards so that they open themselves to the scrutiny to the public. So that for example the length of time that it ought to take for an average case to last from the time it is file to the time that it is finally disposed off there should be a standard for that and that standard should be published so that both the judicial officers and the general can hold the judges responsible for that length of time.”

 

Keynote speaker at the event was Chairman for the Economic Advisory Board of Trinidad and Tobago, Terrence Farrell. During his address, Farrell focused on the social responsibility and ethical expectations of judges.

 

Terrence Farrell

Terrence Farrell, Chairman, Economic Advisory Board, T&T 

“Judges are social actors. They are neither above society nor are they outside of society. Their behavior is influenced by the social and cultural forces operating within their society So therefore we need to examine the society and the cultural dynamics if we want to understand how the judicial system actually and how judges actually behave.”

 

Adrian Saunders

“People are becoming more and more conscious not only of their rights but of the way they are treated by judicial officers, by officialdom. So one of the things that we stressed is not about you knowledge about the law but how you deal with people.”

 

The conference concludes on Saturday. Reporting for News Five I am Hipolito Novelo.


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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