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Jul 30, 2020

When Will Acting CJ Get the Substantive Post?

Dean Barrow

Back in April, we told you that Justice Michelle Arana was elevated to the post of Acting Chief Justice of Belize.  She officially took over from the former Chief Justice, Kenneth Benjamin, who retired in March.  Arana is the first female Justice of the Supreme Court, but will she get the substantive CJ post? It’s left to be seen when it will happen and if it will. As you know, elections are drawing nearer and according to the Prime Minister Dean Barrow, he does not want the appointment to be entangled in litigation.


Prime Minister Dean Barrow
“I think it should be sooner rather than later. Remember though, that we need to consult with the opposition and while ultimately that consultation requires I take in their views and try to ensure that any objections they might have or any issues they have are carefully considered. At the end of the day, it is still a matter for me and for the government.  But I have to be careful because already the opposition is making noise about, for example, the Boledo contract signed with Brad’s which came about in a completely transparent fashion. But they are saying because you only have a couple of months more, perhaps less than a hundred days to go before the elections are due, you shouldn’t be signing contracts. You shouldn’t be making appointments that would go beyond the life of the current administration. With respect, and they know it, that is not the way how government works.   I do not want the appointment of the Chief Justice to become embroiled in legal controversy and in litigation. So, I am bearing that sort of thing well in mind and weighing against it the natural interest of you in the media and of the public for an acting appointment not to be continued for too long. I hope that we can make a decision sooner rather than later.”

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