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Feb 23, 2010

Senators raise more questions about Attorney General

Godwin Hulse

Godwin Hulse

The Senate met for part of the day in Belmopan to consider the Seventh Amendment to the Constitution that went through its second and third reading in the House on Friday.  The most controversial part that dealt with persons holding dual nationality to sit in the House or Senate was stripped from the bill.  But another section of the bill that would allow attorneys who are not in the House or Senate to serve as Attorney General caused a ruckus amongst officials on both side of the House. Even though the storm has settled, at today’s senate meeting in Belmopan, there were more questions put forward by senators Henry Gordon and Godwin Hulse, after they heard Wilfred Elrington’s reasons for supporting the constitutional amendment that would easily allow him to be stripped of his post as Attorney General.

Henry Gordon, Senator

“What happens to an Attorney General who is from outside of the National Assembly who will still be a minister in the Cabinet, but who won’t be answerable won’t be answerable to the national assembly?”

Wilfred ‘Sedi’ Elrington, Minister of Foreign Affairs (February 19th, 2010)

“I can tell you that it is not possible for one person to do a good job as attorney general, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Minister of Foreign Trade. You have to be a kind of superman to be able to discharge all those responsibilities. Also too, it is not all attorneys who have the same capabilities and capacities. Former leader of opposition and the representative from Fort George will readily tell you that really and truly it’s only about two or three percent of all attorneys who are really good, who are really exceptional, who are really capable of in fact doing a good job to their clients.”

Godwin Hulse, Senator

“I’ve heard the honorable present attorney general say in the House—and I will not paraphrase him, I will just try to quote some aspects—that in fact that is an overworked ministry where he has attorney general, foreign affairs and foreign trade and he went on to elaborate that foreign trade and foreign affairs presented a very steep learning curve him as he had no experience therein particularly in diplomacy. This amendment seems to be relieving him some of his responsibilities. And then I wondered if I was really hearing correct because I was saying if he didn’t have experience in foreign affairs and foreign trade, the one place he has experience in is the legal profession, which is what the attorney general is because he is a former judge of the Supreme Court, former magistrate, senior counsel and senior attorney and so that would be the one job that he would want to retain or for that matter that the government would seek for him to retain, which would be the attorney general. Therefore, I could not see any reason in the term of this government, why would you want to change the attorney general unless it is future thinking for a subsequent government. And I commend that kind of thinking but then there are lots of other things that need to go into that future thinking, not this one specific issue and so again I didn’t get my reason.”

The bill for the Caribbean Court of Justice to repeal the Privy Council Appeals Act went back to the Constitutional and Foreign Affairs Committee because of concerns raised by Senator Hulse who pointed out that it did not have the provisions of the act it would have repealed. Other Senators also asked for clarification that could not be provided by the leader of government in the Senate.

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1 Response for “Senators raise more questions about Attorney General”

  1. Belizeanabroad says:

    Perhaps the Hon. Minister is alluding to the fact that he is not a part of the 2 or 3 percent of lawyers who are good attorneys. Well it seems he is niether a diplomat and or trade specialist and I can’t comprehend why he would want to expend energy attempting to surmount the steep learning curve when his energies could have been directed to the attorney general issues… as i have said before SORELY DISSAPPOINTING!

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