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Constitutional challenge of government’s “appropriation bills” begins in court

BELIZE CITY, Mon. Apr. 29, 2019– The Leader of the Opposition, Hon. John Briceño, Orange Walk Central area representative; and the chairman of the Public Accounts Committee, Hon. Julius Espat, Cayo South area representative, filed a claim against Prime Minister Dean Barrow and Financial Secretary, Joseph Waight, for spending some 1.3 billion dollars without parliamentary approval. The monies were spent using appropriation bills and were only brought to Parliament for approval after the monies were spent.

The two claimants are seeking a number of constitutional reliefs from the court and today the case got a first hearing before Chief Justice, Hon. Kenneth Benjamin.

Attorney Andrew Marshalleck, S. C., who is representing the claimants, spoke to reporters after the brief hearing this morning.

Marshalleck explained that for the past 10 to 15 years the government has spent monies out of the consolidated revenue fund that have not been approved.

Marshalleck said that they are attempting to get a declaration from the court as to the constitutionality of the government’s spending practice and the remedy. The claimants are seeking a permanent injunction to restrain the Prime Minister and the Financial Secretary from spending monies out of the consolidated revenue fund without parliamentary approval in the future.

The case is in its early stages and the government presented its defense this morning, Marshalleck said. The case has been adjourned to the second week in May and before the end of the year the case should be heard.

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