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Jun 23, 2022

GOB says No Belizean Applied for Chief Justice Post

After two years with only an Acting Chief Justice, the Briceño Administration is proposing the appointment of Justice Louise Blenman, as the new Chief Justice of Belize. But, was Acting Chief Justice Michelle Arana glossed over after serving in that capacity since March 2020? This latest announcement from the Government of Belize has led to some controversy.  A statement from G.O.B. on the proposed appointment says that the position was advertised locally, regionally, and through the Commonwealth Secretariat. Eight applications were reportedly received, none of them by a Belizean applicant.  According to the release, the Bar Association appointed an interview panel of senior members of the legal fraternity, upon the request of Attorney General Magali Marin-Young. The interview panel subsequently recommended Justice Louise Blenman to Prime Minister John Briceño, based on her qualifications and experience. Andrew Marshalleck, President of the Bar Association told News Five via text, quote, the application and interview processes were transparent and we believe the candidate proposed is the best choice, end quote. Justice Louise Blenman, a native of Guyana, has served in a variety of senior judicial positions. She has served as a Magistrate in the Criminal Court in Guyana, a lecturer of law at the University of Guyana, as Solicitor General in Saint Lucia, and High Court Judge of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court. The government’s release notes that Acting Chief Justice Michelle Arana, who has served in that position for the past two years, will remain Acting Chief Justice until the appointment of the Chief Justice. Thereafter, she will be elevated to the Court of Appeal bench. This proposal comes on the heels of the Senior Court Bill being passed through the House of Representatives. The bill, once passed through the Senate, will allow for the restructuring of the administration of the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeal. Both branches of the judiciary will fall under what will be known as the High Court. A Chief Justice will be appointed as the presiding judge and administrator of the High Court.


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