Legal Expert Chosen for NEAC Tribunal Amidst Questions: Juratowich’s Role Clarified
King’s Counsel Ben Juratowich, an esteemed legal expert has been chosen to represent the Government on the NEAC Tribunal. It is a curious turn of events, especially after the Prime Minister noted that Juratowich had misunderstood his assignment as it relates to the legal opinion on the Definitive Agreement. Fast forward today, and the question is, ‘how come?’ Former Attorney General, Michael Peyrefitte weighed in on the matter.
Michael Peyrefitte, UDP Chairman: “It tells me that that particular attorney Ben Juratowich always understands his assignment. And when the Prime Minister said that Ben Juratowich did not understand what was asked for him, the Prime Minister was talking shit. He was talking nonsense, foolishness, and he knew he was. If you’re the government and these proceedings are important to you, you would want to get someone who understands their assignment. And when we were in government, we hired Ben Juratowich to go against Eamon Courtenay. And so it’s not strange, it’s not weird that he’s been hired for something other than the ICJ matter. But what is still shocking, what is still unfortunate, is that the Prime Minister when he got an opinion he didn’t want or when he got an opinion that he didn’t want the public to know, decided to attack this eminent jurist, and by hiring him subsequently to that, to do this particular case, shows that he has every confidence in him and that what he said about him not understanding his assignment with Portico clearly shows that the prime minister cannot be trusted. I don’t see any issue with him handling private cases locally for Belize. Because, I mean, at any given time lawyers handle hundreds of cases, it’s not strange, it’s not unique for them to handle more than one at the same time. So I don’t see an issue with it and from what I know of him, if he could not handle the load he would have said so.”
Juratowich has also been hired by the government in the case with Guatemala at the ICJ.