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Nov 21, 2022

Ceiling Collapses at Belize City Magistrates’ Court  

Today, the Magistrate’s Court was supposed to be in session as per usual, but an emergency pause had to be put in effect after court employees walked in the building to find that a portion of their ceiling had collapsed. While they were stunned, the circumstances that led to the incident are not at all a surprise. Many Belize City residents and businesses suffered some degree of damage due to Hurricane Lisa three weeks ago. The roof of the building, which is right above the Supreme Court chambers, suffered significant damage. More rains that pounded the rooftop over the weekend, coupled with water damage brought on by Lisa caused the ceiling on the lower flat, specifically in courtroom number four, to give way. It prompted an emergency alarm and a halt to the routine operation of the Belize City Magistrates’ Court, which deals with arraignment and bail matters, sitting trials and offering information on court matters. Chief Magistrate, Sharon Fraser told us that she has informed the necessary authorities including, the Chief Justice and the Attorney General of the present condition. Fortunately, courtrooms numbers one, two and three were not affected by the damages and are still functional. Since the Supreme Court was affected during Lisa, the offices were moved to the National Bank of Belize building on Regent Street. But why the delay to fix a roof for the Belize Judiciary when the court system is considered one of the most essential services in the country? That’s a question yet to be answered. According to Chief Magistrate Fraser, the court will be operating temporarily with the use of only two of its building, as business must continue as scheduled. The delay will no doubt cause trials to be affected.

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