For months now Ocean and the Government of Belize have been in and out of court for the hearing of two cases brought against the Government by Oceana. In one of the cases Ocean is challenging the validity of six oil exploration contracts and in the second case the organization is seeking judicial review for the disqualification of eight thousand and forty seven signatures gathered during Ocean’s campaign to trigger a referendum on offshore drilling which were rejected by Chief Elections Officer Josephine Tamai.
Yesterday both parties were back in court for a case management session on the judicial review for the rejected signatures.
Audrey Matura Shepherd, Vice President, Oceana Belize
“We went in chambers because this is a case management and what case management means is that we have to look at the different dates when we think certain affidavits should be filed, when we think that certain statements should be given and by when we think the trial could commence. So this will definitely drag on until the end of the year; there are different preliminary things we need to do. But I think maybe of great interest is the fact that there is a possibility—it’s not concrete yet—that was mentioned in chambers by the counsel for the government, Miss Barrow, that they will be looking into the possibility of doing of course, preliminary objections. They going to be questioning whether we filed certain things on time based on the order given previously and of course, as you know, no surprise to us they will try and strike out the matter before it reaches the court. So I think that’s going to be our first uphill battle that we will be dealing with and thereafter of course, we go through the process.”
No date has been set for the case to be heard. It is expected; however, that on Friday, Government’s attorney Naima Barrow of Barrow and Williams will make submissions to strike out the case.
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