Attorney Lisa Shoman appointed first Belizean judge in IDB’s Administrative Tribunal

Thursday, June 15th, 2017

On Monday, June 12th, Attorney Lisa Shoman announced she has been appointed as a new judge for the Inter-American Development Bank’s (IDB) Administrative Tribunal. She is the first Belizean in history to hold this position. Shoman’s six-year appointment will become effective on July 1, 2017, where she will join six other adjudicators in Washington, DC, USA, including Madam Justice Desiree Bernard from Guyana.
The IDB is the main source of multilateral financing in Latin America and the Caribbean, which provides solutions to development challenges and support in the key areas of the region. The Tribunal was established in order to hear complaints and settle disputes that arise from the employment relationship of the Bank or the Corporation and their staff members. The Tribunal then has authority to examine evidence, conduct hearings, issue rulings to guide the proceedings, and render judgment.
When Shoman applied for the position, she was short listed and subsequently selected for the position. According to the requirement listings to be an IDB’s Tribunal judge, the applicant’s professional competence and integrity must be recognized, and they must have the necessary qualifications to occupy a similar position in the highest judicial courts of their countries. With much government and diplomatic experience, Shoman has held several high ranking positions, including Senator in the National Assembly of Belize, Minister of Foreign Affairs & Foreign Trade of Belize, the first woman to become the Ambassador of Belize to the United States of America. She is also active in issues regarding gender equality, human rights, and politics.
Shoman expressed the significance of her achievement via her Facebook page. “My appointment proves to me – and hopefully to others, especially young Belizeans, that we from the Jewel have what it takes. It just takes perseverance, tenacity, determination and work. I have always wanted to spread my wings beyond our imminent horizons of the Jewel, and this gives me the chance. After being shortlisted twice for Executive Secretary of the Organization of State’s Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, and coming so close the last time, I was quite tempted to pack in my effort, and I’m so glad that I am a driven individual, and I tried again,” said Shoman.
Serving as an active attorney, Shoman reaffirmed that she will not discontinue her private practice. “This new appointment doesn’t mean that I will give up my litigation in Belize. If there were any issues having to deal with a staff member of the IDB in Belize, I wouldn’t, in any case, be involved. There are seven judges on the panel, and it’s rare that all seven are seated. It would have to be an exceptional case. The judges normally work in panels of three and the president of the arbitral tribunal decides who sits on what case. There will be in sessions in DC and I will also be working by email, by social media, so that we are able to get things like discovery of documents,” said Shoman.
Shoman will be officially signing her contract with the IDB by the end of June.

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