Monday, April 29, 2019
The trust factor had been utterly lost between the people of Belize and the United Democratic Party. The Courts have ruled three times against them in the span of 28days. One of them was a historical injunction that while being interim will last as long as our modern world. During the last anti-government ruling, the Leader of the Opposition John Briceño and Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee, Julius Espat were busy with a different and as important lawsuit against the Government of Belize.
The challenge here the Supplementary Appropriations bills that the Barrow Administration has been passing in parliament during their past three terms in elected office. Here the Government spends taxpayer’s dollars from the consolidated revenue fund on whatever government business they wish. The challenge is that the bills always seek to legalize money that has been spent in the past. Imagine, spend mommy’s money then go and ask permission to spend it.
John Briceño and Espat and Belizeans can definitely see a problem with that. Chief Justice Benjamin called for a case management conference, and after the hearing, Attorney Andrew Marshalleck, who represents the claimants spoke with the media.
Andrew Marshalleck, SC – Attorney for the Claimants.
“… the claim is to have the court declare the constitutionality, or unconstitutionality of the retrospective appropriation of monies from the consolidated fund. As you know, that’s been happening for years, and it’s to get a determination on it. We’ve always felt that it was wrong, and there seems to be no sign of the practice stopping. It needs to be dealt with.”
“Can you give us a specific instance of which the claimants currently complain that the Government has unlawfully spent from the consolidated revenue fund?”
Andrew Marshalleck, SC
“There are some 22 instances, and they’re all embodied within supplementary appropriation acts, where they seek to appropriate funds after they’ve already been spent, and there are quite a few of them.”
“Are you able to give us a ball park figure of what the claimants say has unconstitutionally spent over these last 22 instances?”
Andrew Marshalleck, SC
“I have the total, I think it’s a little over a billion dollars they add up to. You need to get approval before you spend. You don’t spend, and come back a year later and say, last year, I spent an extra 40(Millions) can you approve that now? It doesn’t work. It must be prospective. We’re in very early stages. The claim has been filed and served, and a defense was only delivered this morning. I haven’t had a chance to review it. The case management that was scheduled for this morning has been adjourned for the 2nd week in May, so that everyone can take a look at that defense, and see what directions need to be given, in order to try the case.”