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Oct 12, 2022

Belize Judiciary Receives Donation for Backlog Reduction Program

A donation of over four hundred thousand dollars in digital equipment was handed over to the courts this morning by the U.S. Embassy.  As part of an initiative known as the Backlog Reduction Program, the governments of Belize and the United States have been working closely to moderate the number of surfeit cases in the justice system.  The bottleneck has long been an issue that continues to plague the function, as well as the prompt and effective delivery of judgments by the courts.  News Five’s Isani Cayetano reports.


Isani Cayetano, Reporting

The backlog of cases before the Supreme Court is described as a perennial issue that ultimately affects the pace at which the justice systems grinds.  For several years, this concern has been raised by the bar, the bench and the attorney general during the ceremonial opening of the legal calendar.  Seeking to alleviate the problem, the United States government is sponsoring what is being called a Backlog Reduction Program and the first order of business was a donation of equipment to the Belize judiciary.


Louise Blenman

Louise Blenman, Chief Justice

“Indeed, there is no doubt that the criminal justice system is in urgent need of reformation and modernization, in order to improve both the quantity and quality of justice that is delivered.  Towards this end, I am fully committed to providing the requisite leadership and build on the foundation laid by my predecessors.  In the face of constraints, thankfully over the years there have been a number of initiatives by the embassy at the invitation of the Government of Belize which supported the judiciary.  More recently, there have been additional efforts by the embassy aimed at contributing to the improvement of the criminal justice system in Belize.”


There has been a forty-two percent reduction in unresolved matters before the courts.  According to the Registrar of the Supreme Court and Court of Appeal, this was made possible with help from the Commonwealth Secretariat.


Trienia Young

Trienia Young, Registrar, Supreme Court

“Part of what assisted us is in fact the temporary justices that were given to us through the Commonwealth Secretariat.  So, with their assistance we have been able to reduce significantly a lot of the criminal matters that are presently before the court.”


Chief Justice Louise Blenman reiterated the importance of timely judgments and what they mean to the effective dispensation of justice.


Louise Blenman

“If criminals are not brought to justice in a timely, effective, fair and efficient manner, persons will lose confidence in the justice system, if this has not, to some extent, occurred.  However, in my view, all is not lost.  In order to restore more public confidence in the criminal justice system, both the quality and the quantity of justice must improve in the immediate future.  It is critical that litigants are provided with easy access to justice that is fair and efficient, failing which fundamental rights may be impacted.”


The partnership between the Government of Belize and the U.S. Embassy where the justice system is concerned has spanned the past six years.  Charge d’ Affaires Leyla Moses-Ones speaks on the joint effort between both countries.


Leyla Moses-Ones

Leyla Moses-Ones, Charge d’ Affaires, U.S. Embassy

“We have been partnering through INL’s auspices with the Belizean judiciary sector since 2016.  It’s been a long and fruitful partnership.  The current program aims to reduce the criminal case backlog through supporting legislative reform and as the Chief Justice said, the development and enhancement of a case management system that rests on modern, digital technologies.  The office and computer equipment that we are providing today represents our continued support in addressing processing deficiencies and this equipment is valued at over two hundred and eighty thousand U.S. dollars and it represents an investment, not only in the courts but sort of a spiritual investment in swift justice that means so much, as the Chief Justice said, not only for Belizean communities but for the broader implications in the country’s stability and economic prosperity.”


Reporting for News Five, I am Isani Cayetano.

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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