Belize has a new Justice of The Court of Appeal. He is Samuel Lungole Awich - who has been sitting as a Justice of the Supreme Court of Belize since April of 2001.

7news has confirmed that yesterday, the Governor General signed the instrument of appointment elevating Awich to the highest court in the land.

It is noteworthy because Bar Association roundly opposed Awich's elevation, passed a resolution against it and urged the government to reconsider.

The Leader of the opposition - who has to be consulted, also did not support it.

But, the Prime Minister - who advises the Governor General to make all such appointments -remained convinced of Awich's suitability for the post, and proceeded with the appointment - for a two year term, according to reports.

It should be noted that Awich has been condemned by the Bar Association before. In 2009, that body pushed for his resignation, citing extraordinary delays in the delivery of judgments.

But he survived that, and also the recent uproar over his elevation to the Court of Appeal.

In a recent online column, former Attorney General Godfrey Smith - who first brought Awich to Belize as a Supreme Court judge in 2001 - characterized the appointment of Awich to the Court of Appeal as, quote, "a breach of public trust and an abuse of (the Prime Minister's) high office.

Channel 7