Since 2009 5 million paid out to private attorneys
A recent decision by the Caribbean Court of Justice ended before the House of Representatives when the government put forward a motion targeting the former prime minister and the then attorney general. At the Senate meeting on Monday, the motion was also debated. But there’s another side to the litigation story – the side which is costing taxpayer millions of dollars. The Ministry of Finance has reportedly confirmed that since 2009 government has paid out approximately five million to its private attorneys. And that is only for litigation involving the Belize Bank, B.T.L. and Belize Holdings. During the discussion on Monday, private sector Senator Mark Lizarraga made pointed reference to the huge sums being paid out for litigation.
Mark Lizarraga, Senator, Private Sector
“We remain extremely concerned, however, that we still do not know the cost of the legal services provided in this case. Is it to be two million, three million, four million, five million? At this time, Mr. President, we recommend and suggest that in future, if adequate competency does not exist in the ministry or in the office of the Attorney General for any cases on behalf of the government, then we recommend that all independent legal services provided to the government should be put to public tender as is done for the provision of other goods and services.”
News Five tried to reach Financial Secretary Joseph Waight to confirm which law firms have shared the almost five million paid out since 2009. He was unavailable. But looking back at our archives, we note that a number of cases the government has outsourced have gone to Barrow and Williams, Young’s Law Firm and Barrow and Company.
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