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Oct 2, 2014

Francis Fonseca Criticizes Legal Profession Act

Francis Fonseca

As far as House meetings go, today’s session was decidedly tame, with little of the acerbic repartee we’ve become accustomed to. Some significant bills were pushed through to final reading, including the bills for amendment to the Legal Profession Act and the Firearms Acts, as well as the B.T.L. and B.E.L. Acts. In the end the only matter which got the Opposition a little out of sorts was the amendment to the Legal Profession Act. The first shot came from P.U.P. leader Francis Fonseca.


Francis Fonseca, P.U.P. Leader
“This is a bill that is retrograde. It seeks to change the composition of the General Legal Counsel and its function. In our view, it is aimed at more political control of the General Legal Counsel. It of course removes compulsory membership in the Bar Association. This is a matter that has been discussed and debated, but we certainly are of the view that it is not unconstitutional to require membership in the Bar Association, compulsory membership in the Bar Association given the public purpose and nature of the Bar. You can argue over the Bar’s record or track-record; that is something that we can discuss, but certainly the purpose and the intent of the body and the association is a public purpose and if there are difficulties with the performance of the Bar, then let’s address those. But this attempt as the bill seeks to really undermine the Bar Association and really to dismantle the Bar Association in our view is certainly not something we should support.”

 

Dolores Balderamos-Garcia

Dolores Balderamos-Garcia, Belize Rural Central Area Rep.
“In the states, our good neighbours from the United States of America, they have a saying, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” And I would like to adapt that to Creole Mister Speaker, if nothing wrong with it, why yo tampering with it? Why are we tampering with the Legal Profession Act that provides for the appointment by the Bar Association of four members to the General Legal Counsel—two of whom must be of ten year standing and so have a senior status? Why would we want to interfere with that? I therefore submit Mister Speaker that this move today is not a good move; it erodes the independence of the bar and there was and there is now no need to reconfigure the General Legal Council.”

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