Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Belize: Edmond Castro Faces Challenge In Court

In January, news broke about the Belize Airport Authority checks  approved for Edmond Castro, the Belize Rural North area rep. The result of that revelation was that the BBA's Board was required to resign, and the Department of Civil Aviation was removed from Castro's ministerial portfolio. 
 
Well, Belize Rural North resident Trevor Vernon believed that wasn't enough, and so he filed a civil suit against Castro claiming that he breeched the code of conduct given to Ministers under the Belize Constitution. The Chief Justice heard the application to bring that lawsuit, and both Vernon and Castro were in court today.

After the hearing, we spoke to attorneys on both sides about the arguments as to why the Chief Justice should or shouldn't allow the full case to be heard. Here's how they explained it:

Denys Barrow, attorney for Edmund Castro
"It is under the rules of court under which the case was brought. They brought it under a particular provision which deals with administrative law applications, constitutional relief, judicial review and claims for a declaration. But the particular rule is very clear as to when you can get a declaration and it is you can get a declaration against the state, against a tribunal, against a court or against another public body. Mr. Castro is not the state, he is not a tribunal, he is not a public body therefore this claim simply cannot be brought against him."

Phillip Palacio, attorney for Trevor Vernon

"What we essentially submitted to the court was that the points brought up by learned senior counsel they were all technical objections and when you look at technical objections that would more to the form of the claim and not the substance of the claim. We were saying and we had used authorities actually coming out of Belize to say that this is a very important claim which needs to be heard. Whenever you hear of misconduct or malfeasants by public offices specifically ministers - we are saying that this claim needs to proceed and what the Chief Justice should do he should amend the claim and allow it to proceed. That is the strategy that we had used. Instead of striking out for him to use all the alternatives available to him in order for this matter to be heard."

Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin will deliver his decision on whether or not the case will be heard on May 19 at 9:30 a.m.


Source:   http://www.7newsbelize.com