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Jul 1, 2011

Former Attorney General says government is duty bound to obey the court

Hubert Elrington

As we come to the close of the work week, there is a sense of uncertainty and insecurity that prevails in many sectors on the quick “fix” to legislation for the government’s reacquisition of Telemedia.  In so doing, many legal minds say that the government is usurping the rule of law and that’s a dangerous and slippery slope. The House will ram through this important piece of legislation in three readings, it will proceed to the senate and then land at the desk of the Governor General, all in a matter of hours. On the airwaves, on the streets and everywhere the debate is relentless on whether the government is acting above the law when it uses the security forces to keep Dean Boyce at bay and by going back to the House to reacquire Telemedia despite the decision of the Court of Appeal. Attorney Hubert Elrington is a former U.D.P. Minister of Government and the brother of the sitting Attorney General; he gave a no holds-barred interview to this station saying the government is duty bound to obey the court. Here is a clip from Elrington’s interview.

Hubert Elrington, Former U.D.P. Attorney General

“I was an Attorney General there was a time when the P.U.P’s after one of the elections created a television program called our turn and they wanted to put it on the airwaves and I said absolutely not you are not going to do that and they took me to court the whole big gun lawyer’s of the P.U.P but I won. The Court of Appeal held that if they wanted to put on the program they had to follow certain procedures which they had not followed. But if the Court of Appeal had held that I made a mistake in the law as Attorney General of the country I would have been duty bound immediately to obey the order of the court. So this question is first and foremost a question as to whether this administration the cabinet and the Prime Minister understand in the clearest possible terms that they must obey. Whatever may be Mr. Barrow’s position or the Attorney General’s position or anybody’s position, once they arrive at what the Court of Appeal decision means they are duty bound to obey it because it is of the first constitutional importance, nothing is more important in our country, nothing can be more important it is like the death sentence of the country not the death sentence of a person, this raises the spectrum of the death sentence of our country because either we are a country that will govern our country by the rule of law or we are going to try to brush aside eh rule of law and have disrespect for the law. I listen carefully to the Prime Minister, when he was in television, explaining the difference between a declarative judgment and an executive judgment and at the end of it I said to myself I have not heard a lawyer talk so much nonsense in a very, very long while. The whole of that was nonsense but the ordinary man out there is not in a position that’s a load of nonsense Mr. Prime Minister, that’s craziness.”

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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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8 Responses for “Former Attorney General says government is duty bound to obey the court”

  1. Belizean Diaspora says:

    Mr. Elrington you are speaking a lot of sense, as an officer of the court, you and the Prime Minister are duty bound to obey it’s ruling, even if you don’t like it. It is just like in England, if Westminster asks for the Queen’s head(sorry to use this analogy), she has to sign her own death warrant. Mr. Barrow now chooses to disregard the the ruling of the Court of Appeals, and has told the nation, that virtually, there is no law, only his words. These are dangerous times my friends, when the people who swore to uphold the rule of law to the death end up the ones ripping those laws up.

  2. Lucas says:

    ARMAS!, ARMAS!, ARMAS!. WEAPONS!, WEAPONS!, WEAPONS!.

  3. REGGIE says:

    very good to see one of the former udp standing up for the rite of the judges.i do think pm forget that he is a lawyer.rite now is mind frame is in a dictatorship world.he should go after the oil company that is raping our oil and change things .THEY HAD A SONG ONCE THAT SAY EVERYTHING CRASH EVEN THE POLICEMEN.WILL JUST A MATTER OF TIME.I HOPE MONDAY 50% OF HIS CABINET DON’T SHOW UP TO VOTE.DOES THE GOVENOR GENERAL HAVE ANY POWER NOT TO SING SOMETHING THAT HE KNOW THAT IS NOT GOOD FOR THE COUNTRY?OR HE HAVE TO COMPLY WITH THE PM?WHAT IS HIS POWER?SOMEONE PLEASE EXPLAIN TO US.IS THE AG JUST ON THE PAY ROLL TO BE QUIET.OR THE BORROW FAMILY IS THE AG N THE GOB IN ONE.MY PEOPLE WAKE UP AND STOP THIS DICTATOR BEFORE IT IS 2 LATE.

  4. javier solis says:

    You know i kinda like this guy. He is so funny. Krazy Glue!!

  5. Justice says:

    But barrow seem to be a lunatic so we can expect no different actions

  6. Roy Yates says:

    From a distance this Lawyer seem to be one of very few in Belize who really grasp the magnitude of what Dean Borrow is doing to his fellow citizens that he swore to protect and defend. He has painted the whole nation with a paint that will be hard to be remove in the years to come. If the Borrow government thought that Ashcroft got too much concession from the former government, it would seem that it would be prudent for him to have legislate to open the competition in the telecomunication industry, like former President Jimmy Carter did with AT&T, etc. But to just took away the company is madness. And he repeated the same nonsense with BEL.

    Now he is trying to hoodwink the public again that employees at BTL are with him. Knowing how vindictive he is, and the fact that jobs are hard to come by in Belize, how many of the employees would risk his/her job by telling him that doing the wrong thing?

  7. Roy Yates says:

    Reggie. I’ve been toying withthesame question regarding the Governor General as Representative of the Queen, what is his responsibility to sign into law a totally irretional piece of legislation? From a layman point of view it would appear that he would be aiding and abetting Dean Barrow’s disrespect for the highest court in the land.

  8. Concern says:

    Roy, you have a point there, the employees have seen first hand the vindictiveness that exist. Therefore what can they do unfortunately their names are currently being used in this entire process.

    Belizeans you all need to see the big picture and not taking political sides. Litigation after litigation will follow and who will be paying for that. All of us because it will trickle down in taxes on workers and taxes on consumers.

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