Features — 09 January 2015 — by Adele Ramos
Fresh hope for Janae

BELIZE CITY–On Monday, January 5, 2015, Fred Lumor, SC, received a $300,000 check – the first payment from the Government of Belize towards a $2 million award which the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) decreed in April 2014 as a just compensation for Janae Matute, a girl who developed cerebral palsy due to birth complications, and her mother, Georgia Matute, in a landmark medical malpractice suit for Belize.

Lumor told us that although there was no letter accompanying the payment, which is for damages and legal fees, Mr. Nigel Hawke informed him that they plan to discuss with him their intention to make installment payments to settle the balance of the bill.

“It means a lot to me. I will be able to provide better care for Janae. I will be able to seek further medical attention for her,” said Georgia Matute, Janae’s mom.

She told us that she was advised last week that the Government would be preparing the check and that it would have been ready for pick-up on Monday.

Matute said that the funds have not yet been disbursed to her, but that she is hopeful that it represents “a good start.”

She said that they can finally begin to make some renovations to their family home, to make it more accommodating for Janae.

“As it is, in the rain, it is difficult transporting her back and forth to school. It is really challenging, but hopefully it will be a little easier now,” said Matute.

Last week, we reported that Financial Secretary Joe Waight had confirmed to our newspaper that the Government would make a sizeable initial payment to Janae and subsequently arrange for the payment of the remainder of the court award.

After giving birth to Janae in December 2000, Matute quit her government job to take care of her child. The mother was also awarded a portion of the $2 million as special and general damages amounting to roughly $800,000. Janae’s award includes $240,000 for three vehicles during her lifetime, $180,000 as compensation for loss of future earnings (the Court of Appeal had reduced the figure from $708,203 to this figure), $170,000 for future accommodations, and $227,000 for future caregivers. Janae’s award totals $1.5 million.

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