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Feb 20, 2017

P.M.: Eamon Courtenay’s Positions Inconsistent

Eamon Courtenay

P.U.P. Senator Eamon Courtenay has come under fire from the ruling United Democratic Party and the Government of Belize, both of whom are demanding his immediate resignation from upper parliament.  Courtenay is being asked to step down as the People’s United Party’s lead senator after filing an application challenging the constitutionality of the recently passed Central Bank International Immunities Act.  Courtenay, in his role as a political figure, voted in favor of the passage of the legislation, only to turn around and challenge the legality of the piece of law in his capacity as an attorney.  The venerable senior counsel also happens to represent B.C.B. Holdings which is pursuing arbitral awards against G.O.B. in the United States jurisdiction.  We asked Prime Minister Barrow to weigh in on the controversy.  He says that Courtenay’s actions seek to crumble Belize’s foreign reserves.


Dean Barrow

Prime Minister Dean Barrow

“Let me speak as Leader of Government.  Eamon Courtenay is a member of the government.  The government is the legislative branch, the executive and the judiciary.  He’s not a member of the executive, the executive is the current administration, but he is a member of the legislature so he’s a member of government.  I really have a difficulty with is being a member of government, with his having voted for the laws that we passed all in an effort to protect Belize’s assets and then turning around immediately afterwards and challenging those laws.  Look, it doesn’t stop there.  Mr. Courtenay is altogether an enabler of Michael Ashcroft’s efforts to collect on these awards, awards that have been pronounced against by our courts, awards that certainly predate this administration, awards that, not to put too fine a point on it, were rooted in corruption.  When Mr. Courtenay, as a lawyer, does his level best to assist the Ashcroft Alliance in the collection of those awards in foreign currency, which would have the effect of, if not crumbling our reserves, certainly jeopardizing those reserves considerably, I have to think that that is not consistent with his position as a member of the government.  Right now, forget the challenge to the laws that we passed.  Right now he is leading the charge to eliminate the injunction that the Supreme Court gave us, which injunction, as long as it continues, prevents the Ashcroft Alliance from attempting to collect against us in the States, either in terms of regular government assets or which we are very much more concerned about, the assets of the Central Bank.  As a private lawyer that is fine for Mr. Courtenay to do, even though there are some of us who might say we would not accept such a brief.  But the problem comes in when you try to reconcile that, and it’s irreconcilable, with the fact that he is a member of government.  I think the People’s United Party really needs to do something about that.”

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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