Monday, January 3, 2011

Justice Manuel Sosa Sworn in as president of the Court of Appeal

Justice Manuel Sosa sworn in as President of the Court of Appeal
Belmopan, 3rd January, 2011 Justice Manuel Sosa was today sworn in as President of the Court of Appeal by the Governor General, Sir Colville Young, at Belize House, Belmopan.

Witnessing the swearing-in ceremony was the Attorney General, Hon B. Q. Pitts.
Justice Sosa succeeds Justice Elliot Mottley who resigned as President of the Court of Appeal at the end of December 2010.

Justice Sosa’s distinguished legal career spans some 34 years. He was first called to the Bar in 1976 after qualifying from the Norman Manley Law School, Jamaica, where he received the award of the Most Outstanding Student.

He pursued private law practice in Belize from 1976 to 1998 and was elevated to Senior Counsel in 1988. He also held the positions of President and Vice President of the Bar Association and served on both the Bar Committee and the General Legal Counsel.
Justice Sosa was appointed as a temporary Justice of the Supreme Court of Belize in 1993 and a substantive Justice in 1998. The same year he was awarded the honour of the Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (CBE) by Her Majesty the Queen.

Justice Sosa served as the Chief Justice of Belize for a short period in late 1998 before being appointed as a Justice of the Court of Appeal in early 1999. During the last 10 years, he presided over appeals heard by the Court of Appeal on several occasions. He is highly regarded in the profession for his legal acumen and meticulousness.

Justice Sosa was born in Corozal Town and is now 60 years old. He is married to Mrs Elba Sosa nee Rosado and is the father of three children.

Justice Sosa is the first Belizean President of the Court of Appeal. Other Judges of the Court of Appeal are Justice Denys Barrow, Justice Dennis Morrison and Justice Brian Alleyne.

Crocodile Confiscated

On Thursday December 23rd at around 10:00am, Vince Rose and Cherie Chenot-Rose of ACES (American Crocodile Education Sanctuary) received a phone call from the San Pedro Police Department informing them that the Police had confiscated a small American Crocodile. According to information received from the police, a man was seen walking in the San Mateo area, with the crocodile. The man was informed by the police officer of the risk he runs by having the crocodile in his possession. The police then took the crocodile and placed it in the care of the ACES team.

According to Biologist Chenot-Rose, the croc appeared to have been a captive animal as it was suffering from a condition called Belly Rot – Brown Spotting Disease, which is prevalent in ill kept crocs. The croc measured 40 inches (3ft 4in) and weighed about 10 pounds. There was a mark where it appeared to have been hooked in the back. The ACES team administered medical attention to the confiscated crocodile and held it under observation for 12 hours after which it was tagged and re-released into a small canal on the southern end of the island near the Port Authority.

The general public is reminded that it is ILLEGAL under the Laws of Belize Wildlife Protection Act, to capture, feed, harass or handle, or have in your possession any parts of a crocodile (including claws, teeth, skulls, skin, including use for jewelry). If caught, the first offence carries a fine of up to $500.00 and the second offence carries a fine of up to a $1000.00 and/or six months imprisonment.

Should you have a problem crocodile in your area, know of people illegally feeding or harassing them, or know of ones that are in illegal captivity you are asked to please call the Belize Forest Department at 822-1524 or ACES at 666-3871 or 631-6366.