By Benjamin Flowers
The Supreme Court on Friday ruled in favor of the Belize Grassroots Youth Empowerment Association to remove the injunction placed on them by the Government of Belize.
Justice Courtney Abel decided to discharge the injunction after the Office of the Solicitor General made several procedural errors in the ex-parte injunction brought against BGYEA, to stop them from planting corn in the buffer zone of the Harmonyville community.
The Court also awarded BGYEA cost of the proceedings and ordered GOB to compensate them for the seeds and other materials they purchased to plant with.
Attorney for BGYEA, Audrey Matura-Shepherd, explained that the Solicitor General’s office failed to serve BGYEA President, Nigel Petillo, with the required documents after they sought the injunction without him being in court to defend himself.
Matura-Shepherd said that up to Thursday June 12, no affidavits were delivered, and so she wrote to the Sol. Gen’s office requesting that they be served. She added that GOB was also to file, by May 30, what case was to be brought against Petillo to justify the injunction. However, GOB also failed to submit that to the court.
“The court found that very offensive and although Mr. Nigel Hawke is saying that my client [Petillo] got everything. The judge asked him [Hawke] where is the affidavit of service…They couldn’t produce that, and it’s simply because my client is not lying,” Matura-Shepherd told the media.
After the proceedings Petillo said that the victory is not just for BGYEA, but also one for the justice system of Belize. When asked if he would proceed with planting corn, Petillo said that with his attorney BGYEA will regroup and plan its next move.
In May GOB filed the injunction prohibiting BGYEA from doing any kind of development in the mile 41 community’s buffer after GOB discovered that BGYEA had decided to plant the corn despitethe government ban.
Prime Minister Dean Barrow has also gone on record to say that BGYEA will not be allowed to plant inside the buffer.