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Dec 17, 2009

Belize City Mayor wins court battle against U.D.P.

Story PictureIn a dramatic decision handed down by the Court this morning, Justice Minette Hafiz granted two of three injunctions requested by Mayor Zenaida Moya-Flowers in her legal challenges against her own party. In the first, the Court is prohibiting the U.D.P. from continuing to exclude her from meetings of the National Party Council. On October third, the U.D.P. took a decision to expel Mayor Moya Flowers from the N.P.C. and kept her out of subsequent meetings of that body. The Court also granted an injunction telling the Central Executive of the U.D.P. that it cannot act on a referral of the N.P.C. requesting it to investigate Moya Flowers. News Five spoke to her Attorney Godfrey Smith on Moya’s sensational victory.

Godfrey Smith, Attorney for Mayor Zenaida Moya Flowers
“As attorney for Mayor Flowers we went to look for three things. The first was an injunction telling the U.D.P. that they could not continue to exclude Zenaida Moya Flowers from meetings of the N.P.C. She got that injunction against the U.D.P. Secondly, she asked for an injunction that the matter of her conduct which was referred by her National Party Council, by the U.D.P.’s national party council to the Central Executive of the U.D.P. asking them to review their behavior; that the Central Executive could not act on that referral. She got that injunction. And thirdly she wanted a more omnibus injunction saying to the central executive that they could not at all inquire into her supposed conduct as they had put it. But the court did not grant that final injunction.”

Jose Sanchez
“Okay, but with the second point, that could have led to a total expulsion from the party right?”

Godfrey Smith
“Well certainly, but the question of her total expulsion is still a live issue. What the court has said is, you know what U.D.P., based on what you’ve done and handled this matter with the Mayor Zenaida Moya Flowers so far, you probably got it wrong. We di put an injunction pan unnu, fi stop you from proceeding with what you’ve done so far. It is still open to the U.D.P. to say you know what we’re starting from fresh, we’re coming after her again. This time we’ll dot our i’s and cross our t’s and we’ll get it right. She will then be entitled to full representation there and to make sure and to insist that all her rights are accorded to her in the process of attempting to discipline her if indeed the U.D.P. decides it wants to follow through on disciplining her.”

Jose Sanchez
“And that would be within the party or the court?”

Godfrey Smith
“Well that’s an interesting point you raised. Well hitherto, there was a feeling that even when this claim was brought among some people and even some lawyers who said but where are you going with that? You can’t take a political party da court. That’s a political matter, an internal family matter. The court can’t investigate or look into that. Obviously that is a wrong view, the mere fact that the injunction’s had been granted is a landmark in the sense that Zenaida bringing this case establishes, for the first time in the legal history of Belize, that a political is amenable, is subject to review by courts of law in this country and that is a good thing.”

Smith says that assuming the U.D.P. continues with actions to discipline Moya Flowers, she has the court as an option if her rights are not respected during any future disciplinary process.

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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