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Jun 9, 2022

Minister Coye Says His Law Firm Applied for Permission

Recently, Prime Minister John Briceño told reporters that the government had hired private law firms to take on high profile cases since they had the experience and qualifications to deal with those matters. One of those law firms is Courtenay Coye L.L.P., whose senior partners include Senators Eamon Courtenay and Chris Coye. We note that the opposition has made several requests via the Freedom of Information Act to get a hold of the agreements that have been struck between the Briceño administration and the law firm.  The most recent request was via a letter written to Governor General Froyla Tzalam on Monday.  Earlier today, we asked Minister Coye if his law firm went through the processes, as required by law, for it to benefit from those private contracts.

 

Chris Coye

Chris Coye, Minister of State, Finance

“In terms of the Constitution, the Constitution sets out the restrictions, but also provides for certain exemptions. I think Section sixty-four, two of the Constitution is the one that speaks specifically to that. And under that, members of the National Assembly, including the Senate would need to secure an exemption from the Governor-General. That has been done in the case of both Senator Courtenay and I, I presume from 2020, so that’s a non-starter really. As far as freedom of information request, I believe the Prime Minister will submit or send a letter of response, providing full disclosure in short order.”

 

Marion Ali

“How do you respond to the remark that it’s a conflict of interest because you’re a friend of the Prime Minister and you work out of his office as Minister of State and then your law firm is contracted for these high-profile cases?”

 

Chris Coye

“I’m not sure how it would be a conflict of interest. I have no involvement – Senator Courtenay and I are both on sabbatical from the law firm. We have no involvement with the law firm at this point in time, or at least for the period of our official service to the government. As far as any action or matter which the government engages the law firm for, that is between the department and the law firm. There is nothing hidden in what is occurring.”


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