Governor General swears in 3 Justices

The content originally appeared on: News Americas Now

Black Immigrant Daily News

The content originally appeared on: Amandala Newspaper

Photo: (l-r) Justice Michelle Arana, Chief Justice Louise Esther Blenman and Justice Minette Hafiz-Bertram

by Kory Leslie (Freelance Writer)

BELIZE CITY, Mon. Dec. 5, 2022

Over the last week or so of November, three justices who have taken up new positions in Belize’s judicial system were sworn in by Governor General, H.E. Froyla Tzalam. Among those judicial appointees was Chief Justice Louise Esther Blenman, who is a native of Georgetown, Guyana and has held various judicial posts in the Caribbean, including a ten-year tenure as Justice of Appeal in the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court. Blenman will now occupy the Chief Justice post following the crossover of Justice Michelle Arana, who served as acting Chief Justice from April of 2020 to September of 2022, to the Court of Appeal.

Justice Arana was sworn in on Wednesday, November 30, as a new Court of Appeal judge. Notably, while Justice Arana held the post of acting Chief Justice for over two years, she did not submit her name for consideration when the official post became vacant and was advertised both locally and internationally. Justice Arana’s Supreme Court tenure dates all the way back to 2006, when she was appointed to the Supreme Court of Belize as the first female justice of that court. During her swearing in, Justice Arana expressed her gratitude to H.E. Tzalam for hosting the event and to her colleagues for their support throughout the years:

“I wish to thank my fellow judges, for all your support throughout the past years that we have labored together as judicial colleagues in the Supreme Court of Belize. I truly value our time together, and the experiences shared, which I will always treasure. Your support has been invaluable, especially during my tenure as acting Chief Justice over the past two and a half years, during which we grappled with the many unprecedented challenges brought upon us by the Covid-19 pandemic. We as judges, bolstered and supported by our indefatigable and resilient staff of the Supreme Court, pulled together as a team and kept the wheels of justice turning as we continued to deliver justice to the people of this nation during what was one of the most challenging periods in recent history. And for that, I salute you,” she said.

Justice Arana also expressed her gratitude to the Prime Minister, Hon. John Briceño, for her appointment and shared her willingness to continue her 22-year tenure as judge in the country’s highest resident court.

Prior to Justice Arana’s swearing in, Justice Minette Hafiz-Bertram was also appointed as the president of the Court of Appeal on November 22. Justice Hafiz-Bertram was sworn in as the acting president of the court back in December of 2020 by former Governor General, H.E. Sir Colville Young. Justice Bertram, who likewise hails from Guyana, and was appointed as a justice of the Court of Appeal in 2013, also previously served as a Supreme Court judge, and as Registrar General and Registrar of the Supreme Court.