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May 13, 2009

P.M. says getting a Solicitor General may take a while

As we have reported, the office of the Solicitor General has been vacant since June of 2008 when Tanya Herwanger resigned. And it might stay that way a while longer. According to the P.M., the salaries are not attractive for overseas recruitment and locally lawyers make too much money in private practice.

Prime Minister Dean Barrow
“We’ve advertised in the region and no inquiries have been received that appear to us to be worth pursuing. The Minister is gone, I believe, Jamaica or Guyana—I think Guyana for the CARICOM Council of Trade and Economic Development Meeting and he had had some preliminary contact with some Guyanese lawyers. He’s going to try to firm up those and see if there is anybody that appears to fit the bill that we can try to recruit. But I’m afraid so far no luck.”

Marion Ali
“What’s the status with Mr. Ghandi?”

Prime Minister Dean Barrow
”Mr. Ghandi is the Legal Advisor to the Minister and the Ministry of Finance. That’s completely separate from the SolGen’s Department. We need a Solicitor General – Mr. Ghandi to start with doesn’t go to court. He’s of an age where he doesn’t go to court and while he does help in other areas because of the lack of a Solicitor General, we need a Solicitor General. We can’t continue to function indefinitely without a Solicitor General. So again the Minister will just have to continue pushing and pushing until we can find a Solicitor General. We don’t, of course, want to take anybody. It’s important that we get a good Solicitor General and so far we’ve not been successful but we need to find one sooner than later.”

Marion Ali
“Is it that we’ve been approaching people and they’re just not interested in the job?”

Prime Minister Dean Barrow
”Some of the people who are interested don’t appear to us to fit the bill and there’s always the question of the package. Nobody in Belize wants to do it because again the good lawyers are all in private practice and they make too much money. So we clearly are looking at somebody from abroad but even there if you’re not—we don’t pay very well. Our salary rates in the public service of Belize aren’t particularly high. So there is that kind of a deterrent but we might have to do a little something extra because we must get a Solicitor General.”

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