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Aug 17, 2021

Constitutional Claim Filed Against S.I. 74

Arthur Saldivar

Nine individuals have filed a constitutional claim in court against the Minister of Health, the Commissioner of Police, and the Attorney General in relation to Statutory Instrument seventy four. The claimants are frontline workers and private sector employees, including three police officers. Among a list of twelve reliefs, the Claimants are seeking, is for the court to declare that S.I. Seventy-Four is contrary to their rights to life, liberty, security of the person and protection of the law. Their Attorney is Arthur Saldivar. He spoke to News five earlier today.


Arthur Saldivar, Attorney at Law

“The main thrust of the action against the Minister of Health, and in particular, the police is mainly an agent who is carrying out the mandate set out by the S.I, is in relation to the exercise of the power under section 82 (A), which has been exercised in a vacuum not constitutionally sanctioned. If one is to take a read of the Constitution, particularly section 18, which mandated that where there is a public period of emergency, within that period, persons who are given certain powers under particular legislations, in particular ministries, are then able to exercise that power to make regulations, S.I. Now, there is a specific procedure in bringing about a State of Emergency. We have been through a few of them during the last administration. But, to the best of my recollection, since the election was held in November, there has been no period of public emergency. Hence the reason, it is the belief of my clients that the Statutory instrument and subsequent instruments that follow 74 are all unconstitutional and illegal. This is not to say that all S.I. are illegal and unconstitutional. Some S.I.s granted to particular ministers in ministries, for example in education. In fact, I believe there was a recent S.I that allows for Surinamese and Haitians to come to Belize without visas, perfectly legal. It doesn’t impede upon the fundamental rights of Belizeans. It is not of universal application to Belizeans. As a result, it is fine.”

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