BELIZE CITY, Mon. Oct. 16, 2017–Mannon Dennison and Holman Katanegie, two former Belizean cops who have ventured into law studies, recently concluded a 15-week Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice at the University in Fiji in Suva, Fiji’s capital city.
Dennison, who formerly worked as a cop as well as an investigator at the Financial Intelligence Unit, and Katanegie, who formerly worked at the Police Department and Fire Department, are said to be the very first Belizean graduates under the GDLP, which began to be offered in 2012. The men began the GDLP program this March, when the latest cohort was taken in.
First Belizeans to graduate from the University of Fiji’s Graduate Program in Legal Practice
Dennison and Katanegie—who studied law in the Caribbean, at the University of Guyana in Georgetown, Guyana, before moving on to take up training in Fiji—have been admitted to the bar as barristers and solicitors, attorneys at law at the High Court in Suva, Fiji by Honourable Chief Justice A. Gates.
The GDLP program prepares law graduates for admission to the practice of law in the Fiji High Court, the university explains. It explains that the program was designed to develop effective junior practitioners ready to meet the standards expected of them when they enter the profession.
According to an article appearing recently in the Fiji Times, the graduates have begun their one-month legal internship with the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (ODPP) in that South Pacific country.
“The internship provides all students with an opportunity to work with State Counsel and prepare them for legal practice after they are admitted to the Bar,” said the report.
Dennison and Katanegie will reportedly return to Belize after the completion of their studies, but hope to return to Fiji in the future to practice law.
Police Public Relations Officer Raphael Martinez confirmed to Amandala that the two GDLP graduates are former cops who had previously trained in the Caribbean; however, he did not know if it is the Government of Belize that had financed their course of study.
The Fiji Times said that Dennison and Katanegie are due to return to Belize in November.
“Given their academic qualifications, coupled with their combined 24-year experience in law enforcement it is yet to be seen how best the Department will utilize these officers in their capacity,” the report said.
Back in 2006, Katanegie was acquitted by a jury of 8 of manslaughter by negligence and the lesser charge of causing death by careless conduct for the death of a friend, Elion Augustine, on the Coastal Road. 7 News reported that Katanegie had reportedly been riding shotgun to Augustine when he hit a puddle and lost control, resulting in the accident which killed Augustine.
Katanegie said he was only driving at 40 miles an hour and his claim was corroborated by a passenger.
Months after the acquittal, Katanegie fought off robbers who had attempted to rob him with a gun that he later found out was a fake.