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Mar 12, 2013

A.G. proposes to change formation of General Legal Counsel

Wilfred Elrington

The Attorney General is also proposing changes to the formation of the General Legal Counsel. Elrington says that contrary to reports, he is not trying to make the government take over the majority of appointments to the counsel. He says that’s not true and that the counsel posts have been circulated for years amongst only a few families and individuals. Elrington cited one example of a counsel member who has been seated for over three decades.

 

Wilfred Elrington, Minister of Foreign Affairs

“We are proposing a change in Legal Counsel because I personally think that it can be enhanced. Because of the nature of the Bar Association, you will find that the leadership of the Bar Association has rotated among a few families in Belize. Some of the more elite attorneys and those same people tend to dominate the General Legal Counsel. And I don’t think you get a proper balance and mix and I don’t think that that does anything to enhance the quality of justice that is dispensed by the General Legal Counsel. So it is with a view to strengthen the General Legal Counsel and enhancing the quality of justice that the proposal has been made to make some amendments to it. But the reason it was sent both to the Bar Association and the judges is so that they can make their input. And certainly the input that is made by them will be considered carefully and if found to be warranted will in fact be introduced into the bill before it is brought to parliament for passage through the National Assembly.”

 

Jose Sanchez

“Would a change to the General Legal Counsel give more power to the government as some are suggesting?”

 

Wilfred Elrington

“No, no, no, no, no, no. The government doesn’t want to have any control or domination of anything. Really and truly, the government represents the people and the government has no really interest to deprive…”

 

Jose Sanchez

“But would it give the Attorney General the power to appoint all members?”

 

Wilfred Elrington

“That’s what Jules tell me in the bill. Certainly I can’t recall giving the instructions for that to be put in it. I don’t think it would be a good idea to have the Attorney General appoint the members of the General Legal Counsel. I think what I would like to see the membership being derived not necessarily by the way it is now done. You have the members of the Bar Association normally elect the members—certainly majority of the members of the General Legal Counsel—but it is the same clique of people who in fact make the election year after year after year. So you don’t get a change. It is the same people that tend to dominate this very important counsel. I will give you an example of the situation and the Bar. From the time I became an attorney in 1977, the treasurer of the Bar Association has been Mister Edwin Flowers; never changed.  He is my good friend. He is a nice, affable, honest attorney, but certainly some other person could have been elected. It doesn’t speak well for an association, any association, to have one person as a treasurer for so many years. That clearly signifies serious problem.”

 

The Bar Association is likely to have a response to the proposed amendment in the coming days. This early, it is believed that the amendment will have the effect of formalizing the split in the association which is already divided along party lines.

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4 Responses for “A.G. proposes to change formation of General Legal Counsel”

  1. Storm says:

    I rarely agree with Sedi, but the Jewel does need to shake up its leadership in almost every area, or we will remain stagnant.

  2. Ricky Malthus says:

    Barrow and Elrington are toy boys playing with the ” public good and welfare ” of the Nation of Belize. They have set the stage for massive importation of Caribbean lawyers to enforce their sense of justice to Belizean laws and Belizean people. This is horrific, misguided, faulty logic based on racial overtones, the logic that Belize City is mainly black so there is this affinity to black power a la Farrakan. This black doctrine, if implemented, will have both immediate short term and long term devastating, catastrophic effects on the distribution of justice and impact negatively the justice system in Belize. It is transparent what Barrow and Elrington are doing. Barrow , singlehandedly, has destroyed and impugn the Supreme Court, contaminated and scattered the Magistrate Court whose magistrates have been reduced to mindless robots. We want justice for Belizeans not foreign , imperialistic domination by Jamaica, Guyana, or Trinidad and Tobago. Belizeans, you have to wake up and stop your sleep walking.

  3. ceo says:

    I would like to see another change.

    Gives the authority to appoint the supreeme court judges only to a majority vote of the House of Representatives. Once that appointment is made only the appointed jusde can remove himself provided there is no breach of confidence or the lack of physical ability to continue. Remove the PM completely from being the ultimate decision maker to say when a judge goes or stays. This would bring international credibility and respect to our judicial system.

  4. sickntired says:

    Is true you know. They need to rotate the power otherwise all them elrington and pitts studying to become lawyers funded by our tax dollars will not get a chance to serve and in some fashion repay the public.

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