On Monday the family of 14 year old Janae Matute, the Roaring Creek high school student stricken with cerebral palsy at birth, after being delivered a month early which caused her lungs not to develop properly, came forward to ask Government to begin paying the more than $2.5 million owed since 2012, when it did not appeal the Court of Appeal’s judgment against them.
The case concluded before the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) in April, when the court dismissed the appeal of Dr. Raju Meenavalli, the physician in Government’s employ at the Western Regional Hospital, who was found primarily responsible for the error.
According to Prime Minister Dean Barrow, it was around that time that the case came to his attention, and he said had signed off on installment payments for the family, but for whatever reasons the process stalled. He told the press on Tuesday that it is past time Government does right by Janae and her mother, Georgia Matute.
“I saw something on that somemonths ago. What I saw was notification that in fact the award had beeen confirmed, or that the bulk of it had been confirmed, and indeed as I recollect, I don’t think it was for purposes of information, I think that I was required to agree that installment payments should be negotiated. I seem to recollect having done that.
There was a whole argument as to whether the doctor was really a servant of the government of Belize, but the court has so decided we need to pay them. It does go hard against us, but it goes even harder against the poor child and the family, so we need to pay them, and so I will now try to find out why it is that there has been no movement, with respect with the negotiations of the installment payments.
I see that Mr. Lumor says he is perfectly inclined, and although he said that it would also have to approve by the Supreme Court. Well whatever needs to be done, let’s get it done, so these people can start being compensated as they should be.”
The Matutes’ attorney Senior Counsel Fred Lumor, has threatened a constitutional motion to be filed in 2015, if Government does not respond in time.
There are a total of $700,000 in damages, special and general for Georgia Matute, and $1.447 million for her daughter’s continued care, lost earnings, accommodation, pain and suffering.
The family is separately appealing to Special Envoy for Women and Children Kim Simplis-Barrow to smooth the way for Janae to be treated at the Inspiration Center in Belize City.