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Jan 27, 2010

Battle over rights and freedoms taken to Privy Council

Lisa Shoman

Lisa Shoman

A case against the government by a group of concerned citizens in a battle over fundamental rights and freedoms has gone all the way to the Privy Council. It all started when GOB decided to amend the referendum act without consulting the people. A group of residents were not willing to have their rights taken away so they first took the matter to the Supreme Court in 2008… and won. The government appealed and was again unsuccessful when the panel of judges upheld the Supreme Court’s decision. It seems a second opinion was not enough and so government went an expensive step further and took the case to London in the highest court of appeal. Attorneys Lois Young and Lloyd Barnett from Jamaica appeared on behalf GOB while Lisa Shoman on behalf of the group of citizens. The Privy Council reserved judgment at close of arguments late last week and Shoman told us why this morning.

Lisa Shoman, Attorney for Concerned Citizens

“They, as I said were interested in the Barry Bowen case. They are very keen to see what reason the court of appeal will give for the decision and so they have already indicated that it may be best to wait.”

Marleni Cuellar

“So this decision may be based on the ruling…”

Lisa Shoman

“It certainly may be informed by it if it’s not based. I know that, from what I understand. They will be waiting to see how that goes.”

William Neal

“I find it—a lot of things because of the way our country is run and how polarized we are, because of your own political background, it immediately became a political issue.”

Lisa Shoman

“Yes it did and in fact, at the time this was not a PUP issue. This was a bunch of lawyers sitting around saying look, is this something that we believe is right for the country. We discussed it with many, many citizens. Some people said, look I’m sympathetic but really and truly this government just win so I noh want get inna dis issue. But we did find four Belizeans who were brave enough to put their name to the complaint and who then took the matter to court and said look, this is an issue which although it scans political and I make no apologies for that, is an issue which in the end is going to benefit Belizeans because I cannot understand how, in any democracy it can be bad to have more consultations rather than less. So that was the background to which Anthony Sylvestre, Kevin Arthurs and myself took on this case and we have been dealing with it ever since.”

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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1 Response for “Battle over rights and freedoms taken to Privy Council”

  1. Great info! I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don

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