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Jun 7, 2022

UDP Chairman Writes to GG Tzalam Regarding CourtenayCoye Agreement

Prime Minister John Briceño, in an interview with the media in Orange Walk last Thursday, gave assurances that his administration would make available various documents that have been requested by U.D.P. Chairman Mike Peyrefitte under the Freedom of Information Act.  The opposition senator is seeking copies of all agreements made between the Government of Belize and Courtenay Coye L.L.P., a private law firm owned by fellow senators Eamon Courtenay and Christopher Coye. The prime minister’s response succeeded a letter written to him by Peyrefitte on May thirtieth. Notwithstanding a guarantee that the information would be produced, Peyrefitte is still empty-handed and has decided to write to Governor General Froyla Tzalam since she is said to be aware of the purported dispensation that was granted to Courtenay Coye. Earlier today, Senator Peyrefitte provided a brief update on that request.


Mike Peyrefitte

On the phone: Mike Peyrefitte, Chairman, United Democratic Party

“The prime minister has not made those available to me as yet.  I wrote that letter on May twenty-fourth and today is June seventh and no answers have come to me based on my letter.  I wrote a subsequent letter on May thirtieth where I indicated to the prime minister that since he said that Courtenay Coye had a special dispensation, that’s the word he used, from the Governor General allowing them to remain in the Senate, even though their firm was representing the government, I asked them for documentation to show and prove that the Governor General had indeed done that.  That, as well, has not been forthcoming.  I have not received any information on that.  Additionally, I asked him in that May thirtieth letter, to give me the letters to all ministers who, if they have their firms or companies engaged with the government for their documents to be turned over so we can know that they’re following the constitution and nothing has come to me so far.  Today, I wrote to the Governor General, herself, kindly asking her to provide me with documentation indicating that she has given permission or that her predecessor has given permission since November 2020 to different ministers for their firm or companies doing business with the government if they have it.  So let’s see if I get an answer from the Governor General, but so far I have not gotten an answer from the prime minister.”


Isani Cayetano: What happens if you do not get a response, either a written response or a satisfactory response in terms of providing these documents to you.  What other course of action can be taken?


Mike Peyrefitte: Well there’s a part in the Freedom of Information Act where I can explore it with the Contractor General and if I don’t get any satisfaction from that or we don’t get the documentation then we can go to the court and ask the court to mandate the government to provide it.  However, I don’t see why we need to go so far.  The prime minister and the different senators have said that they have nothing to hide.  So if they have nothing to hide then they should just produce the documents.

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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