Wednesday, November 5, 2014. AARON HUMES Reporting: The case of Belizean-American Bernadette Pickwoad and the Ministry of Natural Resources was slated for trial this morning in the courtroom of Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin.
But it has been put off to Thursday as the two sides seek a last-minute negotiation to settle the matter.
Back in November of 2013, the Ministry had cancelled Pickwoad’s lease for lack of development on the property in the Belama Phase I area and non-payment of various fees.
It then issued title to retired educator Maud Williams and Marvin Castillo, relatives of former Ministry CEO and political candidate Beverly Castillo.
The Supreme Court granted an injunction stopping development on the property pending the trial.
Pickwoad’s attorney is Audrey Matura-Shepherd who says the two sides will meet over the course of today.
The court encourages a settlement negotiated between parties as it would be more generous than a court judgment settled strictly on the merits of the law.
The claimant appeared in person with her brother Bernard Pickwoad.
While she is prepared to testify on Thursday if the matter is not settled, they hold out hope for an amicable solution to a distressing sequence of events.
The attorneys – Matura-Shepherd, Vanessa Retreage for Williams and Castillo, and Deputy Solicitor General Nigel Hawke for the Government – are to report back to the Chief Justice on Thursday and if agreement is not reach, the trial begins with Bernadette Pickwoad’s testimony.
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