Opposition questions legal fees, Prime Minister responds

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Updated: September 2, 2015

Before the settlement was arrived at between the Government of Belize and Fortis Companies, the Caribbean Court of Justice was expected to make a decision soon on the matter. The matter went from the Supreme Court of Belize all the way to the Caribbean Court of Justice. That is not cheap and the legal firm representing the Government of Belize was Barrow and Company, Dean Barrow’s brother, Denys Barrow’s law firm. Critics believe that since both parties were able to arrive at the settlement, millions of legal fees have gone to waste.

Said Musa – Area Representative, Fort George

“Barrow and CO they’re obviously the ones making millions and you know when talking about that obviously the Prime Minister is not going to tell us how much Denis is making on this whole thing but what we do know is that Barrow and Company also did another settlement for the government of Belize back in January of 2014 that was the vessel that ran up on the reef, the Paranga. When a settlement was made for a little over $2 million dollars, $2.7 million dollars. Paid to the government of Belize and of that Barrow and Company collected 20% of that, over $500,000 dollars. Yes Mr. Prime Minister the records are right there. One day settlement made and sat down for about six hours, $500,000 plus paid to Barrow and Company that is only one of them that we know about. You should check about those kinds of fees that the government is paying. In fact Mr. Speaker when all is said and done the only people to benefit from the whole BEL nationalization and settlement was the high paid lawyer. The case for the government all the way to the CCJ was argued by Denys, he is a very competent lawyer I am in no way criticizing his competence I am just saying that the Prime Minister should come clean with the Belizean people and tell us how much the people of Belize are paying for these shares.”

Prime Minister Barrow explained why the law firm of Barrow and Company was hired to represent the Government in this matter.

Prime Minister Dean Barrow

“There’s been a lot of talk about lawyers and who gets paid for what. Both the leader of the opposition and the member for Fort George are lawyers. I will make the point from now that in retaining the law of Barrow and Company, in retaining Denys Barrow and this is what Mr. Pig utterly misquotes. I have always insisted that he is the best lawyer in this country. The only man who could have held a candle to him was Gian Ghandi, so that’s the point I’m going to make to you Mr. member of Orange Walk Central, not even I in my opinion am as good a lawyer as Denys Barrow and so I will make no apologies for retaining him with respect to these very complex ,complicated legal matters where the government is entitled and requires the best possible legal representation.”