Senior Counsel Denys Barrow is not only the attorney for the Government of Belize but also the brother of Prime Minister Dean Barrow. In that regard, the People’s United Party and other activist groups have accused the Prime Minister of nepotism and points to the millions of dollars in legal fees for the years he collects for representing the Government in the legal war over BTL and BEL. However, Barrow, told the media today that as a Senior Attorney he charges what a Senior Attorney should charge.
“It is political mischief and one expects it, in the course of a political campaign. Regrettably, there is not any kind of corruption or shade dealing on the part of Dean Barrow that they can point to. So, what they do is they say because I charged a usual fee that a very senior attorney will charge and the government pays this for my services they are saying that his is nepotism, that this is something that should reflect badly upon Dean Barrow. I regret that they have seen fit to do this because they all know that the fees that I charge are the same fees as lawyers at my level of practice, my experience in practice would charge. I would love to give you a bill of cost for instance that Lord Goldsmith submitted and is seeking to get the Government of Belize to pay where he is charging £1,000 pounds an hour for his services whereas I charge along with other senior lawyers at the rate of $1,000 Belize dollars an hour. I think £1,000 pounds an hour works out to maybe $3,400 Belize dollars an hour (in fact it works out to $3039.20 BZD). So, what is charged that the government pays to me and it is far less than what it could have been required to pay if it had employed somebody such as Lord Goldsmith.”
“Would we be able to get from you an idea of the percentage? Perhaps it’s secret information; the Opposition is bringing out a document that says you were paid $500,000 + which is 20% of a settlement. Is that percentage in keeping with what your law firm will get for the settlements with Fortis and with BTL?”
“Unfortunately, my brother got scared and refused to pay me a percentage in relation to these matters and therefore my political friends have done me the disservice of having my fees reduced so regrettably no, no percentage for me.”