It has become an undeniable fact that judicial education is indispensable to the competent administration of justice. In this regard, the higher and lower Judiciary in Belize is in the somewhat disadvantageous position of not having a formal structure for the dispensing of programmes for the training of judicial officers. It is therefore of high priority that a body tasked with judicial education be developed albeit on a volunteer basis at its inception.
Her Ladyship Madam Justice Arana is a Fellow of the Commonwealth Judicial Education Institute, of which I have the honour of being a Patron and also a Fellow. Justice Arana has been given the assignment of establishing a judicial education body for Belize.
Notwithstanding the absence of a structure, judicial education has continued during 2011. In July 2011, the International Governance and Risk Institute (GovRisk) facilitated training for Magistrates and Prosecutors in trans-national crime. This exercise was followed during the last week. On January 9 and 10, 2012, GovRisk in collaboration with the Rule of Law Initiative of the American Bar Association and the British High Commission conducted further sensitization and training in anti-money laundering and fraud for the Magistracy and Police prosecutors. On the day following, January 11, 2012, a sensitization session was conducted for Supreme Court Judges. The exercise was led by Hon. Mr. Justice Nicholas Browne-Marke, a Court of Appeal Judge from Sierra Leone. It is fair to say without reservation that these training initiatives were as timely and relevant as they were well-received by the participants. It is my fervent hope that this collaboration continue in the future.
In order to enhance the capacity of the Judiciary to deliver judicial education, arrangements are in the making for one Judge to attend the annual programme for Judicial Educators at Commonwealth Judicial Education Institute in May 2012 at Dalhousie University, Halifax Nova Scotia in Canada. This of course is
dependent on funding being available.