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Acting Chief Justice reviews “year of transition” in the judiciary

Posted: Monday, January 18, 2021. 10:35 am CST.

By Aaron Humes: The Supreme Court of Belize greets a new year, says Acting Chief Justice Michelle Arana, much the same as in previous years – doing its best to stretch resources in the administration of justice.

After a reduction by about a million dollars, the Acting C.J. said in the annual address that it looks forward to the promised increase in its budget by the current administration.

Justice Arana also issued a warning to the legislature and executive that it cannot handcuff the judiciary by introducing legislation to set time limits for delivery of judgments and proposing to remove judges for failure to adhere without providing adequate resources to meet those targets, and mentioned that a list of concerns the judiciary has provided in November has yet to be answered on financial grounds.

Nonetheless, she welcomed the new Attorney General Magali Marin-Young, SC, who will address the virtual presentation later on, and thanked predecessor Michael Peyrefitte and the past and present governments for their support.

Reflecting on her succession to the post of Chief Justice in March after the departure of Kenneth Benjamin, the Acting C.J. noted that she was the first female, first Garinagu and one of the few Belizeans so appointed. Other additions to the civil bench include Lisa Shoman and Westmin James, joining holdover Sonia Young, while several judges have either retired or resigned due to reaching the age of retirement. Marilyn Williams will resign to enter retirement in February and Collin Williams leaves in October, leaving behind Antoinette Moore, Herbert Lord and Francis Cumberbatch in charge in the Criminal Division.

 

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