UNIBAM cautiously optimistic about constitutional case

Caleb Orozco

The church state system that many Belizeans have grown accustomed to is being challenged by the homosexual advocacy group UNIBAM. UNIBAM is challenging a portion of the constitution that makes it a crime to have same sex relations. The church and the government are both defending section fifty three of Belize’s criminal code.  The case was called up before Justice Michelle Arana for case management earlier in the week, but it has moved to the court of Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin. News Five caught up with UNIBAM’s Caleb Orozco at an HIV conference. He says the strength of the case for his group has elevated to cautious optimism.

Caleb Orozco, Executive Director, UNIBAM

“We learned from the meeting that Justice Arana will no longer hear the case; the Chief Justice will take it over. We learned that the court granted the church lawyer, Michel Chebat an extension to May third. We consider that very late in the filing. We learnt that the Sol Gen office is given until April thirtieth to file their skeleton arguments and we learned that there will be an order where expert witnesses will now be examined and those are to be finalized shortly. Those are the basic update, but the major thing for us is the switch for which the CJ is going to take on the substantive hearing from the seventh to the tenth of May.  I’m more cautiously optimistic now than previous that’s one. Two, we are, in terms of my lawyers, they have a better vision of where they want to take the case. And three, we’re better coordinated along our interested parties in terms of strategy. And as such, the pessimism I was feeling previously has changed to one of cautious optimism.”

The Chief Justice will hear arguments on the case from the seventh to the tenth of May. 

Channel 5