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Sep 18, 2023

Prosecutors Take Sick at the Start of High Court Session

The official opening of the October session of the High Court was scheduled for today and many cases are set to be heard in the weeks ahead.  At nine o’clock this morning, court officials were informed that the attorneys at the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions had called in sick.  The concerted absence effectively brought to a halt any matters that would have been dealt with today, including the start of trial for Kyle Zetina and Shawn Flores, who stand accused of a triple murder involving a high school teacher Alarice Andrewin in June 2019.  But were the crown counsels genuinely not feeling well, or was it a planned sickout meant to send a message regarding the working conditions that they are subjected to?  Back in July, less than a month after Attorney General Anthony Sylvestre took office, a terse letter was sent from the DPP’s office, on behalf all eleven prosecutors that brought to light the fact that they were not being paid commensurate to their respective duties.  This was after a change in the judiciary that saw the introduction of several new judges, as well as the hiring of a judicial legal assistant whose remuneration package over a two-year period exceeds two hundred thousand dollars.  The prosecutors had also lobbied the Government of Belize for adequate security, given the growing risks and threats associated with their jobs.

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