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May 30, 2022

UDP Chairman Mike Peyrefitte Uses FOIA to Write PM Briceño

Senator Michael Peyrefitte has written to Prime Minister John Briceño under the Freedom of Information Act, requesting a copy of the document in which Governor General Froyla Tzalam was informed that government was retaining the legal services of Courtenay Coye L.L.P.  That is the law firm of Senior Counsel and Foreign Minister Eamon Courtenay and his law partner Christopher Coye, Minister of State for Finance. Through Senator Peyrefitte’s request, the United Democratic Party is seeking full disclosure of the sums that have been paid to the law firm of both government ministers. The U.D.P. Chairman spoke with News Five by phone today, admonishing the actions of the Briceño administration.


On the phone: Michael Peyrefitte, Opposition Senator

“When we noticed that the law firm of Courtenay Coye LLP kept appearing on court papers representing the government and from what we’ve heard they’re also representing the government with matters that don’t go to court.  When we heard about that, it had our people, our supporters wondering, well how much are they being paid, because then, they are all about transparency and non-ministerial interference and involvement, so we wanted to know how much they were getting paid.  I wrote a letter to the Prime Minister in which I indicated that I assumed that they had the proper authority under the constitution to have their firm represent the government in court that that is a matter for another time.  Today now, in response to his statement on television that Courtenay Coye has the necessary permission from the Governor General to have their firm represent the government, I now simply ask him to show me the document where the Governor General gave permission to these two gentlemen to have their firms represent the government because the Constitution of Belize sets [that if] you are a senator and a firm that you belong to or are a partner in or anything like that, engages in a contract with the government to provide services for pay out of the public purse, those members of parliament whether a senator or members of the house must submit that contract, or an interest in that contract to the Governor General and only upon the Governor General approving that exception can those firms engage in business with the government or else those members of the National Assembly will have to vacate their seat.”


Now this being a government that said that they were elected on a platform of transparency, we want to see the documentation to see what they are claim and that’s all.  If they have it, they produce it, the matter is closed.  If they produce to me how much the firm is making, the matter is closed and then the Belizean people will decide whether or not they are getting value for money.  So that was the purpose of the letter sent today.

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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