Belmopan – Today, the U.S. Embassy and the Government of Belize hosted an Inaugural Case Backlog Reduction Workshop with senior officials from the Belize judiciary and legal community. U.S. and Belize officials appraised both the framework and standards of criminal case management processes and assessed what challenges stood in the way of reducing the case backlog in Belize. Today’s exercise is the next step in the U.S.-funded Backlog Reduction Program.
The workshop was attended by Department of State Director for Central American Affairs Patrick Ventrell, Attorney General Hon. Magali Marin Young, Chief Justice Michelle Arana, Chief Magistrate Sharon Frazer, and Director of Public Prosecution Cheryl-Lynn Vidal. Also in attendance were representatives of the Belize Judiciary, the Bar Association, Human Rights Commission, the Ministry of Human Development, the Police Department, and representatives from the U.S. Embassy’s office of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement (INL).
Director Ventrell underscored, “All vibrant democracies require strong, reliable criminal justice systems. Citizens must have confidence that crimes will be investigated, victims will be protected, and that wrongdoing will be addressed, in a fair and impartial manner. Simply put, courts play a key role in determining whether citizens have faith in the system.”
“As Chief Justice, I welcome this workshop. As we embark on a strategy to deal with the backlog that plagues our courts, this workshop brings together all stakeholders to not only acknowledge the challenges we face, but also to provide input and ideas on shared objectives that we can then utilize in moving this Backlog Reduction project forward,” highlighted Chief Justice Arana.
Belize and the United States hold bi-annual bilateral meetings to strengthen cooperation on national and regional security issues. Since 2009, the United States has provided more than US $34.8 Million in INL assistance to advance security in Belize.