Small Protest Comes to Eamon Courtenay’s Law Offices
A handful of protesters headed to the steps of the law firm, Courtenay Coye LLP, on A Street this morning as the United Democratic Party heats up its campaign against Senator Eamon Courtenay. Under the banner of an ad hoc, C.O.L.A.-styled group known as Belizeans Against Lord Ashcroft and Courtenay (BALAC), they were there to challenge its principal, Senior Counsel and People’s United Party Senator Eamon Courtenay, and Lord Michael Ashcroft. Most of the protesters covered their faces and did not understand the new laws and were simply following former U.D.P. talk show host and Guardian Editor, Alfonso Noble who led the pack. Noble claims that Courtenay and Ashcroft are conspiring to cripple Belize with an attack on its foreign reserves to satisfy multiple arbitral awards which the Government has openly said it will not pay. But the U.S. courts now say must be paid by attachment of commercial proceeds, and not the national funds. Aaron Humes reports.
This band of protestors bore down A Street from Baymen Avenue, headed for the law offices of Courtenay Coye LLP. They would not be calmed by assurances that Belize would not lose its foreign reserves to the likes of B.C.B. Holdings and the Belize Bank. They would not be cowed by the bravado of the People’s United Party in standing by their man in the Senate. The leader of the ad hoc group Belizeans against Lord Ashcroft and Courtenay, Alfonso Noble, says Belize means nothing to the former Foreign Minister, two-time Senator, and leading senior attorney, if he would willingly expose the Jewel to such risk.
Alfonso Noble, Protestor
“It doesn’t matter to him. It doesn’t matter to him, because the protection that was even further given to the Belizean reserves here in Belize is being challenged by him; you understand what I’m saying?”
“The reserves are in the United States, sir.”
“But the reserves are ours; it doesn’t matter where they are.”
“They are not in this country…”
“But it doesn’t matter where they are…”
“They are protected by U.S. law…”
“But they need to be protected here! It needs to be protected here because the challenging is coming from here; do you understand what happened in the national assembly; in the Senate, where he supported the very legislation he is now challenging?”
The protestors demanded, as have the United Democratic Party and the Government of Belize separately, Courtenay’s resignation from the Senate, where he swore that he nor anyone else would stand in the way of Belize defending its sovereignty. Protestor Allan Kelly believes Courtenay not only went back on his word, but compounded his error by allegedly flying to the service of Ashcroft in Washington last week, abandoning the Senate inquiry into Immigration to do so.
Allan Kelly, Protestor
“The Belizean people’s interest wasn’t important, that’s why Courtenay jumped on the plane and left the Senate inquiry. Because the Senate inquiry wasn’t that important to him. When the Leader of the Opposition said why Courtenay is a Senator because he found a lot of thing in the Senate inquiry and whatever; but Courtenay proved to the Belizean people that day that the Belizean situation wasn’t that important; it wasn’t important; the Senate inquiry wasn’t important that day – that’s why he jumped on the plane and went and served his Master! The Belizean people ain’t for him; he is a traitor to his country and the people of Belize, so he must resign!”
The P.U.P. aside, Noble says Courtenay no longer enjoys the confidence of the people of Belize – especially if basic economic services are threatened with a successful court judgment against the Central Bank (International Immunities) Act and Crown Proceedings (Amendment) Act. He also made clear that heavy presence of known U.D.P. supporters and operatives did not make this morning’s event a Belchina-sponsored action.
“If you feel the pulse of the people – if you are out there on the ground, and talk to people, and you see what we have seen and the sentiment that people are sharing – people aren’t happy with Courtenay, you know; people aren’t happy with what he is doing, they aren’t happy with the position he is thinking – taking one man’s self-serving interest above an entire country, above an entire country’s national interest? Man, something must be wrong with that.”
“How do you respond to the criticism that the mighty U.D.P., pulled out a crowd of seventy and dah wah ‘rent-a-crowd?’”
“You can say what you want, you know; this is not the ‘mighty U.D.P.’ This is a group of people, Belizeans Against Lord Ashcroft and Courtenay; dis da noh the U.D.P., you know better than that! When the U.D.P. ready to mobilize it will mobilize. This is not the U.D.P., it’s a bunch of people that are discontent, who are not happy with what is happening.”
Though the protestors dispersed from the field of battle at eleven a.m., Noble promises their targets haven’t seen or heard the last of them. Aaron Humes reporting for News Five.