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#507913 - 09/30/15 10:41 AM Elections overtake major cases in Supreme Court  
Joined: Oct 1999
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The Supreme Court has postponed one case and discontinued another as a result of the announcement of general elections in November. Senior Counsel Lisa Shoman confirmed in speaking with us via telephone this morning that the case of PUP Cayo Northeast standard bearer Orlando Habet versus the Chief Elections Officer Josephine Tamai, is to be discontinued with no order made for costs.

She explained that events have now overtaken the case, making the exercise now academic. Former representative Elvin Penner is no longer a member of the House of Representatives and was disqualified from standing for election for the United Democratic Party.

The other case was to have featured preliminary arguments pitting the country’s Leader of the Opposition, Francis Fonseca, against Prime Minister Dean Barrow over the issue of the appointment of a thirteenth member of the Senate, before Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin, but it was postponed until November 30 for report.

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#507944 - 10/01/15 05:10 AM Re: Elections overtake major cases in Supreme Court [Re: Marty]  
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 52,954
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Election Interferes With Court Cases

Election changes everything! Just ask those workers groups who are agitating for salary increases. And it also changes things in the Supreme Court. The PUP today had to postpone two of their major lawsuits against Prime Minister Dean Barrow.

Today was supposed to be the day where Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin would have started hearing the case where Francis Fonseca is suing Barrow because he hasn’t brought the 13th senator online.

That would have been a lengthy trial, but because the general elections will be held on November 4, both sides agreed to postpone the case. The PUP is hoping that it will be elected to office, where they promise to bring the 13th Senator into effect. If they lose, then PUP will press the case forward. After exiting a case management conference, Eamon Courtenay, Fonseca’s attorney, explained the rationale to us:

Eamon Courtenay, SC - Attorney for Francis Fonseca

"It was set for trial today but it has been adjourned by agreement because the date for the election has been set. Therefore it has been adjourned to the 30th of November when we hope by then with a new prime minister we will have a 13th senator appointed; and then the claim would be withdrawn. In the event that, that does not happen then the chief justice will set a trial date at that point in time."

Daniel Ortiz

"Sir what are the instructions from your client Mr. Fonseca in relation to this matter? Is to be argued to completion? Is he still philosophically trying to push this through to make sure that it happens?"

Eamon Courtenay, SC - Attorney for Francis Fonseca

"Let me just say this and I speak on the specific authority of the party leader; and I'm not speaking at this time as an attorney but as a representative of the party. The leader of the opposition has indicated to me that he wish the public to know that his party is firmly committed to appointing the 13th senator. He regards the refusal of the prime minister to appoint the 13th senator to constitute the betrayal of the trust of the Belizean people. He went to the electorate on that promise, he was elected, the constitution was amended, the provision is there and he has refused to bring it into force. I think the public ought to recall as we move towards the election that one of the results and the unfortunate results of the prime minister's dereliction of duty is that there was no inquiry into the corrupt dealing of the Penner scandal; the immigration scandal. That was one of the things the senate attempted to do but because there was no 13th senator it was not done. And therefore the commitment of the PUP and it's leader Francis Fonseca is as soon as possible as it is elected to office there will be a 13th senator."

Daniel Ortiz

"One final question sir, are you offering your services, your resources to the party in trying to get elected to office?"

Eamon Courtenay, SC - Attorney for Francis Fonseca

"All hands are on deck. The PUP is united; the date has been set on the 4th of November and its full steam ahead; we will defeat the UDP."

Another PUP case which got adjourned today was Orlando Habet’s Elvin Penner Recall Petition Lawsuit. This is the case where Habet, the PUP’s Standard Bearer for Cayo Northeast, was challenging the decision from the Chief Elections Officer to reject a portion of the signatures collected to trigger the recall referendum. It doesn’t matter now because parliament has been dissolved and PEnner is no longer a representative.

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