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Sep 13, 2022

Was Karen Bevans’ B.T.B. Lawsuit Avoidable?

Karen Bevans

The Government of Belize, under the administration of Prime Minister John Briceño, terminated the employment contract of Karen Bevans as Director of Tourism on March twelfth, 2021, several months after the People’s United Party took office.  The legally binding agreement signed by former Minister of Tourism Manuel Heredia Junior and other members of the B.T.B. Board of Directors, including former Chairman Einer Gomez, guaranteed Bevans five years as head of the Belize Tourism Board.  When she was fired from that post, B.T.B. attempted to pay her a year’s salary given voluntarily as a final settlement on the matter.  She took them to court and, as we reported on Monday, won her lawsuit and has been awarded damages amounting to over eight hundred thousand dollars that total notwithstanding damages from a previous defamation suit stemming from her termination. It’s a hefty sum for government to shell out when the issue could have been resolved otherwise. According to former Prime Minister Dean Barrow, who represented Bevans in the matter, the attorney for the B.T.B. believed that they would have succeeded with their counterclaim.


Dean Barrow

Dean Barrow, Attorney-at-law

“We wrote to say that, no, you owe this lady the entirety of her emoluments for the unexpired portion of her contract, but we indicated that we were prepared to talk and they made a start when they wrote to her, saying that we’ll give you a year’s salary as an ex gratia payment, but they said a full and final settlement.  Nobody was ever going to accept just a year’s salary when what was left was maybe four more years on the contract, I don’t remember.  But, without a doubt, an agreement could have been reached if they had been so prepared. I remember when there was going to be a late submission, there was an indication that Mr. Marshalleck, somebody else, some other law firm was involved and the principal of that firm had fallen ill.  So there were two other law firms involved but Mr. Marshalleck was clearly fully in control and it is obvious to me that it was his determination that the B.T.B. could win and unfortunately, the famous last words, so to speak.”

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