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Mar 19, 2013

Bar brings down the gavel on AG’s criticisms

Eamon Courtenay

And while those recommendations will be forwarded to Attorney General Wilfred Elrington and Solicitor General Cheryl Krusen, President of the Bar Eamon Courtenay also dealt with the very pointed criticisms that have been heaped on the Association by Elrington. The AG has stated very clearly that he believes that the Bar Association does absolutely nothing for its members or for the community, and in his blog Flashpoint released last week, attorney and former AG Godfrey Smith claimed that there was a kernel of truth in Elrington’s scathing comments. Not surprisingly, the criticism was not taken lightly by the Association, and Courtenay didn’t play nice in his response.


Eamon Courtenay, President, Bar Association

“Neither the Attorney General nor Mister Smith attended the meeting yesterday; neither of them attended the annual general meeting. it is quite easy to sit in your luxurious office and make these comments, but you need to come and participate. The Bar last Friday, a member of the bar sent out to all members a big up; listing the many, many, many voluntary things that members of the Bar Association does. Whether it be providing legal aid, whether it be serving on committees, whether it be providing advice to women, whether it be serving on the referendum commission that the invitation of our very own Attorney General and Foreign Minister; whether it be serving on the general legal counsel which deals with disciplinary matters; whether it be holding seminars which we have held; whether it be holding summits and organizing these things—all designed for the benefit of the profession. Less than a year ago, the Association organized and held a seminar which was addressed by Justice Dennis Morrison and a member Denys Barrow on the standards and ethics of the profession; many members attended. It is unfair and wrong to criticize the Association for being inactive. I said to the members yesterday that a distinction has to be drawn between the Association and individual attorneys. There is no law, there is nothing that is preventing anybody from forming another association today. if Miser Smith, if Mister Elrington, if any member feels that the bar Association is not doing what they would like it to do, form an association right now and do these things that they say should be done. Many of us give our time to the Bar to the Red Cross, to the YWCA, to many other charities around Belize and do all types of works. Many attorneys constantly do pro bono work. Many attorneys represent people free of charge. About two sessions ago at the Court of Appeal, at the urging of a judge of the Court of Appeal, four senior attorneys agreed to take up that penalty cases. I just agreed earlier this week to take up one, free of charge. You have Antoinette Moore, Simeon Sampson; you have many persons doing these things. So I say to any members of the association, first of all, bring your concerns and criticisms to the Association and let us try to do these things. If you are dissatisfied with that the Association is doing, then do it on your own; but don’t sit and criticize and also so nothing.”


To be fair we note that while Smith did point to some truth in the AG’s criticisms, he also opposed the proposed amendment to the Legal Profession Act. We’ll have more from Courtenay later in the newscast.

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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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3 Responses for “Bar brings down the gavel on AG’s criticisms”

  1. Gone fishing says:

    Sedi can read.

    BAR & PUP are spelled the same.

    what exactly does this govt have in mind? or does it have mind?

    take over the bar with a constitutional amendment.
    it’s the Belizean way.

    at least the current Guats have the courage putting Rios Montt on trial.

  2. bgroovy says:

    Is the bar responsible for keeping its members in check? If so, why is it that Sylvester was not held accountable over failure to provide (land)papers to foreigners who had used his was the media not the bar that force him to come up with some lame excuse….mayb A G on something….

  3. ceo says:

    I do not think that the government should be involved in the private affairs of an association. Hence I do not think that membership to the bar should be mandetory for legal practice, but there needs to be a regulatory body put in place like a Dept. of Professional Regulations to propper identify and research anyone that wants to practice law in the country: Who does this now?

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