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Oct 21, 2011

Attorney says an injunction would have put brakes on 9th

Godfrey Smith

As we said earlier in the newscast, the House meeting in Belmopan was delayed somewhat this morning because of a ruling by Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin in respect of an injunction sought by Vaughan Gill and Ricardo Castillo who were among twenty-one thousand persons who had signed the petition for a referendum on the ninth.  Attorneys Godfrey Smith and QC Lord Peter Goldsmith argued the case on Wednesday seeking the court to prevent the Governor General from signing the Ninth into law without holding a referendum. After the ruling Smith said that the injunction was an attempt to put the brakes on the amendment which had been rejected by numerous organizations and Belizeans from all walks of life.

Godfrey Smith, Attorney

“Obviously we’re disappointed by the judgment but we respect it. I think the judge took his time and made a careful judgment. We will obviously await, he didn’t provide a printed copy we’re supposed to get that at mid-day. Yes, it’s disappointing but these things happen you’re, that’s the risk of litigation so we’ll consider next steps after this. Umm, yeah so that’s the position of the case. On the political side, obviously I have strong views on that and when I say political side I do not mean party political side but the fact that the government pledge it would listen to what the people said and as far as what is said the Bar Association is still opposed to the ninth amendment, the Chamber of Commerce is still opposed, organizations like COLA and Belizeans for Justice are still opposed. As you’re all aware, APAMO recently came out opposed, as well as the B.N.T.U. came out opposed. I’m aware that a prestigious, and as prestigious organization like the Carter Center which is the region, if not the world’s, most influential organization when it comes to democracy and rule of law, has written to the government expressing its serious concerns and to no avail. As you are aware, twenty-one thousand registered Belizean voters have come forward to say we would like a referendum on this. So from high to low all classes of people have expressed serious concern and this coming to court was a final attempt to say  look before you bring it into force, have the referendum and respect the wishes of the people. But it is not to be on this day in relation to the injunction but as I said we will have to consider our next steps from here.”

Giovanni Brackett, Plus TV/Channel 7

“With the referendum, by law though, the government has to hold a referendum?”

Godfrey Smith

“We believe that is the case and I think that’s been accepted in the Alberto Vellos case. And if I interpreted what this Chief Justice Benjamin was saying, he’s also saying that there is an obligation to hold it. We accept that it’s not binding and not in accordance of the wishes of the people.”

Late this evening, word to this station is that the Court of Appeal will meet on Saturday morning to hear an appeal on the Chief Justice’s ruling. It is most unusual for the court to meet on a Saturday.

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 “Attorney says an injunction would have put brakes on 9th”

  1. Initiate! says:

    It is unusual for a court to meet on a Saturday, but it is unfortunate that it is becoming normal for a court to be bribed.

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