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Jun 28, 2022

Acting Chief Justice Michelle Arana Did Not Apply for CJ Position, P.M. Confirms

We’ll now take you back to the prime minister’s virtual press conference from Portugal where he also responded to questions on the selection of a new Chief Justice of Belize. The United Democratic Party has been up in arms over the selection of Guyanese national Justice Louise Blenman as the proposed Chief Justice of Belize. The Leader of the Opposition is of the belief that Acting Chief Justice Michelle Arana should have been given the position. Well, P.M. Briceño argues that the process was transparent, adding that Acting Chief Justice Michelle Arana would have undergone the same vetting process if she had applied for the position.


Prime Minister John Briceño

Prime Minister John Briceño

It was a very open and transparent process. I don’t think the previous government ever had as transparent a process as we did. As you know, we have restructured the entire justice system. We want to have a more effective and efficient justice system. So, we advertised for that post. We advertised locally and internationally. The Attorney General set up a team for her peers from the Bar Association to interview all those that applied. As what I was told, eight persons applied. For one reasons or the other, Acting Justice Arana did not apply. So, the Bar could only interview those that applied. If Acting Justice Arana would have applied, she would have gone through the very same process. When that process finished, that is when the Attorney General came to me and said this is the recommendation that was made by the Bar. There is no political interference. I think that is what you all should look at, the importance that there is no political interference. We know in the previous government there was a lot of political interference into the court system. We promised we are not going to do that, and we are keeping to our word.”



“On that, can you speak on the offer to elevate her to the Court of Appeals?”


Prime Minister John Briceño

“I don’t think that it is a matter of an offer. There are opening in the Court of Appeal and she expressed interest in the Court of Appeal. As a far as I know, I never had any such discussion with Justice Arana. The recommendation was made about here going to the Court of Appeal and I accepted that recommendation.”

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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