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Despite Bar’s Protest, Justice Awich Is Promoted To The Court of Appeal

Supreme Court Justice Samuel Lungole Awich has become the newest judge on the Belize Court of Appeal.

Governor General Sir Colville Young signed the instrument of appointment on Wednesday, April 25.

Justice Awich’s appointment is for a two-year term and takes effect on May 16, the day after he retires from his current tenure, which began in April 2001.

The Bar Association of Belize had opposed Awich’s appointment, holding a special meeting on Thursday, April 19, where they proposed a resolution opposing Awich’s elevation to the higher court.

Opposition Leader, Attorney Francis Fonseca, also opposed  Awich’s appointment when Prime Minister Dean Barrow consulted him, as the Belize Constitution requires him to do.

Former Attorney General Godfrey Smith, who first appointed Awich to the Supreme Court, writing in his Flashpoint blog, cracked that justice is deaf, dumb and blind in Belize.

Barrow, replying to Fonseca on April 19, wrote to say he is convinced  that Justice Awich “is eminently suitable for appointment to the Court of Appeal.”

It has not always been smooth sailing for Awich. In 2009, the Bar called on Awich to resign, describing his excessive delays to render swift judgement as “misbehaviour”.

In his Flashpoint blog, Smith was relentless. He wrote:

“Knowingly and deliberately promoting a judge with a bad track record of adjudicating to a higher court that requires intellectual skills and acumen that judge does not possess is as deceitful an act as knowingly appointing a dishonest person to be a judge.

“The intent (and effect) in both cases is the same: the undermining of the rule of law.”

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