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Jan 16, 2017

Attorney General Settling into New Office

The transition from Speaker of the House of Representatives to Attorney General has been a work in progress for Michael Peyrefitte.  He formally took over that government department at the beginning of January, when outgoing Attorney General Vanessa Retreage demitted office.  Since taking over that responsibility a number of high profile cases have landed on Peyrefitte’s desk, including a developing legal issue involving the Belize Solid Waste Management Authority and its contract with PASA.  That agreement with PASA to convey garbage from the regional transfer stations to the dump at mile twenty-five has been called off and it is possible that legal action is in the making.  This morning, Attorney General Peyrefitte told the media that while the transition wasn’t difficult, he is preparing for the matters at hand.

 

Michael Peyrefitte

Michael Peyrefitte, Attorney General

“It’s a transition I knew was going to happen a couple weeks before it happened so I started to prepare for it from then and the House Speaker’s position, you have the clerk of the court who runs the day-to-day affairs of the House and then you have the Solicitor General who runs the day-to-day affairs of the Attorney General’s ministry.  So it wasn’t a difficult transition, I just had to make sure what my role is as Attorney General for the purpose of providing policy to the ministry and to providing resources that is needed for the administration of justice and the representation of the government.”

 

Isani Cayetano

“Now with regards to the presentation you made for the bar association and the wider members of the judiciary today, what are some of the challenges that within your purview can be addressed from the Attorney General’s ministry?”

 

Michael Peyrefitte

“Well I just want us to, the challenges that you always face when you come primarily from the private sector to the public sector is that it takes you a while to understand how government works, how the public sector works and what I am trying to do, the biggest challenge that I want to overcome is to enable people to think differently, to think in a more efficient and more effective way.  We don’t always have to do things like we have been doing them.  There are many different ways in which we can change what we are doing to make them better without necessarily adding any cost to it.  So that’s the biggest challenge I face.”

 

Reporter

“The matter involving BSWAMA and PASA, the whole sanitary landfill situation, we were told by personnel from BSWAMA that it was under review from the legal advisor in the Ministry of Natural Resources, as well as the Attorney General’s ministry.  Are you aware where that stands?”

 

Michael Peyrefitte

“I am aware of the proceedings and the analysis of the contract but we are not finished yet so I don’t want to preempt them by saying something or anything about it.  But we are working on it and I am fully aware of that.”

 

Reporter

“But it’s not a case where the government has defaulted in relation to its commitment to PASA.  It’s the other way around perhaps?”

 

Michael Peyrefitte

“Government has not defaulted in any way.”

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Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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