Former Ombudsman, Lionel Arzu successfully sued the Government of Belize after he lost wages and other benefits when the Briceño implemented the 10-percent wage cut in 2021. Arzu was among several contract officers who suffered the losses. Arzu sued on the basis that the Government violated his contract and Magistrate Manon Dennison in Arzu’s favour. While there has not been an indication yet as to whether Government will appeal the decision, Arzu’s attorney, Orson Elrington is confident that upon appeal, Arzu will be successful as well.
Orson “OJ” Elrington, Attorney-At-Law: “Yes of course, he suffered damages as a result of the actions of the Government but for him it is a very principled position. Obviously you know, the Ombudsman is one of the most prestigious offices that this country holds. It’s a constitutional position. It’s a person who has to be of great principle and for him it’s a very principled position and therefore he will take it to the highest court possible if that is what becomes necessary to ensure his rights and of every other person who is so aggrieved is addressed. That’s what the job of an Ombudsman is.”
Dale McDougall, Love FM News: Let’s say this thing does go to an appeal, are you confident that your client will be successful in that appeal?
Orson “OJ” Elrington, Attorney-At-Law: “Yes. I’m cautiously optimistic that we will be successful no matter what. The principle of law, I believe, is very clear and so it is very hard for them, especially in the circumstance where the judge of first instances, the person of the finder of fact has made that determination, they would need to find that there was some error on the principle of law for it to be overturned. The finding of fact has already been done. That is over with. They would have to find that the judge erred in law, not in his finding of fact. Alright? So that is a very steep hurdle to cross every time. It is always more difficult for you to be successful on an appeal.”
The quantum of the damages Arzu sued for was over ten thousand dollars.