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Former Ombudsman Seeks to Sue the Government

Former Ombudsman, Lionel Arzu says he was short-changed by the Briceno administration when his contract was not renewed earlier this year. Arzu has sought legal counsel via Attorney Orson Elrington who says he has written to the government but the response was not favorable.

Orson “OJ” Elrington, Attorney: “We had written to the Government of Belize informing them of the breach of the contract terms of the former Ombudsman Mr.Arzu and that breach is as a result of the government unilaterally changing the terms of the contract. As you know his contract was a three year contract and in that contract you had certain provision including his salary, his allowance and his vacation days. However the government last year in 2020 made unilateral change to the terms and conditions of that contract and without the consent of Mr.Arzu and as a result it is our position that that is a breach of contract and that Mr.Arzu is entitled to all that was promised to him under that three year term that it was not within the power of the government to unilaterally determine that they would reduce both vacation days and the allowances due to Mr.Arzu.”

Elrington goes on to speak on the next step in getting satisfaction for his client.

Orson “OJ” Elrington, Attorney:Indeed the Ministry of the Attorney General concedes that it was a unilateral variation in the terms and conditions of the contract of Mr.Arzu and it is their opinion that while it is a breach that Mr.Arzu because he did not immediately protest that reduction that he somehow consented to the change and the variation in the terms and the conditions of the contract. That obviously is a submission which we totally reject. Now I have forwarded the communication to my client and my client has communicated to me that he would like for us to proceed to legal action so we will be filing a suit against the Government of Belize to recover a little bit over $10,000 and obviously regrettably now they will also incur the legal cost for recovering those funds. So it will not only be the funds which Mr.Arzu is owed but also whatever other legal costs is resultant for us having to go to court to recover what is rightful that of Mr.Arzu.” 

Lionel Arzu served as Belize’s Ombudsman since January 1, 2013.