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Jun 23, 2022

Opposition Responds to Proposed Chief Justice Appointment

The Constitution of Belize provides that the Chief Justice shall be appointed by the Governor General, acting in accordance with the advice of the Prime Minister, given after consultation with the Leader of the Opposition. In accordance, Prime Minister John Briceño wrote to Opposition Leader Moses “Shyne” Barrow, informing him of the intention to appoint Justice Blenman as Chief Justice of Belize. Well, Barrow has responded with disapproval. He is of the firmly held belief that Acting Chief Justice Michelle Arana was overlooked for the position. Here is what he told us via Zoom.


Moses ‘Shyne’ Barrow

Moses ‘Shyne’ Barrow, Leader of the Opposition

“Someone who has served on the Supreme Court as a Justice for fourteen years. Before that, she was a Registrar. And, for the last two years she has served with distinction as the Acting Chief Justice. So, why not? It has no reasonable explanation that could be given. It cannot be that she is not qualified. She is amply qualified. It cannot be that the person being appointed is more qualified. That is not what I have gathered in my consultations with other legal experts. So, why not seize this historical moment to advance equal right, to advance indigenous rights, to advance the reality that Belizeans can accomplish anything?”


Paul Lopez

“Have you been able to ascertain whether or not the position was offered to her and if she refused to take on the position as Chief Justice of Belize?”


Moses ‘Shyne’ Barrow

“My understanding from reliable sources is that she was mislead, to put it politely. There was an offer made to her, as far as I understand, to be the President of the Court of Appeals. However, that was before the Senior Courts Bill, which now makes the Chief Justice the apex of all the courts. So, if Justice Arana were to go to the Court of Appeal, she would still be subordinate to the Chief Justice. So, my understanding is if she did accept to go to the Court of Appeals, it was at a time before the Senior Courts Bill has been presented, and this push to change the configuration of the courts.”

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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