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Nov 23, 2022

A Protracted Legal Battle between the F.I.U. and C.I.B.L. over Confiscated Monies

The legal battle between the Financial Intelligence Unit and Caribbean International Brewery Limited is facing yet another delay as it continues down a winding course in the Orange Walk Magistrate’s Court. On Monday, former Prime Minister Dean Barrow was before the Supreme Court, on behalf of his clients at C.I.B.L., where he filed an application for permission for judicial review. According to Barrow, the lower court judge presiding over the C.I.B.L. /F.I.U. proceedings, Magistrate Deborah Rogers is listed as the first respondent in that application. The Attorney General of Belize is listed as the second respondent. Earlier this week, Barrow also requested a stay of the Magistrates Court’s proceedings, or an injunction, until the Supreme Court makes a determination.  But on Tuesday, the high court denied that request, while a date is to be set for a hearing in relation to the application for permission for judicial review. So, C.I.B.L. and the F.I.U. were back inside the Orange Walk Magistrate’s Court this morning to hear additional witnesses in the F.I.U.’s application for further detention of the millions seized from C.I.B.L.’s compound. But, Barrow had something else in mind. He filed yet another application which led to the hearing being adjourned for an additional three weeks. We hear first from Senior Counsel Godfrey Smith, who gave us a breakdown of how this matter has unfolded up to this point.


Godfrey Smith

Godfrey Smith, Attorney for F.I.U

“As you said, the last time we were here the counsel for the Caribbean Brewery’s International being dissatisfied with certain rulings made by the magistrate said he wouldn’t wait for the case to conclude. He would apply for what is called a case stated, essentially trying to force the matter from the Magistrates Court to the Supreme Court on grounds that his clients constitutional rights were being breached. He thought better of that and withdrew it. In my view it was bound to fail in any event. In replacement of that, he brought an application for permission for judicial review before the Supreme Court and linked with that he asked the court for an injunction, he called it an injunction, in my view it ought to be a stay of these proceedings before the magistrate. The high court, the Supreme Court yesterday refused to stay the proceedings and in relation to his application for judicial review of the magistrate’s rulings the high court said let’s wait and see what happened with these proceedings. So, we came to court this morning prepared to continue this matter that has been dragging out for a long time in an unreal way actually only to be met by an application that the magistrate ought to recues her, meaning she should withdraw from the case and no longer sit on that.”

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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