General

Oceana VS GOB: the battle rages on

The Government of Belize is trying to strike out the Oceana referendum case before it goes to trial, Oceana Vice-President Audrey Matura-Shepherd said Thursday.
Shepherd explained that GoB has made an application to have the case struck out on the grounds that the applicants did not file for judicial review within the 14 days prescribed by law.
She also said that when the parties went to court on Wednesday the matter had to be adjourned until next Thursday, because the judge did not have time to read a late submission made by GoB. Government has submitted that the court should rule in its favor and dismiss Oceana’s claim.
The matter dates back to February of this year when Chief Elections Officer Josephine Tamai announced that 8,047 of the 20,160 signatures gathered by Oceana in its December 2011 referendum were rejected.
In May Oceana filed notice that it would be seeking judicial review and in June that application was granted. The heart of GoB’s claim is that Oceana filed for judicial review on July 11, but should have done so by July 5.
Shepherd maintains that in the event that the matter is struck out there are various options open for them to pursue such as filing – an appeal or using the precedent set by the current case to conduct another referendum, making all the necessary corrections.
Speaking on whether or not she would advocate a protest on the matter, Shepherd said that “taking it to the streets” is a far off option, and maintains that Oceana has and will continue to strive for a level of class in the way it champions its cause.

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