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Oct 31, 2016

Matter May Be Resolved Outside Court; Speaker Says Suit Will Not Affect Senate’s Inquiry

Michael Peyrefitte

The civil suit coincides with the launch of a senate inquiry into the Immigration and Nationality Department for the period 2011 to 2013.  There is a general belief however, that the legal proceedings are simply a means of attempting to thwart the pending investigation.  Peyrefitte, on the other hand, says that the inquiry will proceed unimpeded.
Isani Cayetano

“There is a school of thought that says that yourself, a well-known member of the United Democratic Party, and this particular action that you are bringing against the Government of Belize is essentially to sort of stymie the progress of the Senate Select Inquiry.  Can you speak to that?”


Michael Peyrefitte, Speaker of the House

“The Senate inquiry is set for November ninth, right.  We came out of court today and I can tell you that the Senate inquiry will proceed on November ninth and I can’t see any scenario that would prevent them from proceeding.  So that school of thought is wrong.”


Isani Cayetano

“What are the damages you are seeking out of this particular legal action?”


Michael Peyrefitte

“I wasn’t even initially seeking damages.  If you can recall, I wrote to the Auditor General asking her to correct the error.  She refused to write me back and correct the error.  Has she written to me and said, “Michael Peyrefitte, there was an error.  We’ll correct it [and] we’re sorry for the inconvenience.”  We wouldn’t be here today, so I’m not seeking any damages like that.  I am not even seeking to really stop any inquiry from happening.  That’s not my real intention.  My intention is to correct that error and to not have a proceeding take place that would exclude the correction of that error at all because I can’t have it be said in an Auditor General’s Report that I was doing something illegal, and that’s not so.  That’s my only quarrel.”


Isani Cayetano

“Finally, the nature of your suit, is it defamatory?  What is the specific attribute of this lawsuit?”


Michael Peyrefitte

“Well, it’s a public document at this point so I can tell you.  But I’m not asking for any defamation or anything like that.  It is my personal belief that an error was made, a genuine error was made.  That’s my personal belief.  I’m not saying that when the Auditor General initially put my name in there that she did it with any malice.  I have no evidence of that.  I will accept for now that a genuine error has been made and I would just like to see the error corrected.  We had a first hearing today.  Both attorneys for both sides indicated to the judge that they wanted to have discussions to see if we could possibly settle it, as what happens with all civil cases.  We had a very, very, very good discussion and based on that discussion I am confident, it’s my hope and expectation that at the end of the day, not necessarily this day, but at the end of the day the judge will not have to pronounce on the case itself.  That’s what I am confident of.  I can’t reveal the discussions we had but we had very good discussions and I think I feel strongly that we will not have to have the court decide.  That’s my position on that right now.”


Both parties have indicated a willingness to resolve the matter out of court and expect to return before the Chief Justice on November fourteenth with a favorable outcome.

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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