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PM responds to Uncle P about Courtenay Coye LLP

We’ve been following the back-and-forth between the Government and the Opposition via a series of letters on government spending. On May 24, Senator Michael Peyrefitte wrote to Prime Minister John Briceno demanding that his ministry disclose how much money the Government paid to Courtenay Coye LLP for legal services.  The UDP chairman also demanded that the Government disclose a copy of the permission the law firm received from the Governor-General, Dame Froyla Tzalam, which allows the firm to do business the government. On the Courtenay Coye website, Senator-Ministers Eamon Courtenay and Christopher Coye are both listed as senior partners. No response came from the May 24 letter and Senator Peyrefitte wrote the PM again six days later. Again, no response with Peyrefitte having to write Dame Froyla herself about the permission she gave to the firm to do business with the government. Today, a response to Senator Peyrefitte’s inquiry came.

In a two-page letter, the PM disclosed that Courtenay Coye was paid 277 thousand 842 dollars and 50 cents for legal work done for the government since November 2020. This includes, what PM Briceno cited as the UDP’s unsuccessful claim against Government and lottery tax matters. In that same letter, the Prime Minister provided copies of the permission,  that former Governor-General, Sir Colville Young gave that allows Courtenay Coye to provide legal services to the government, while the firm’s senior partners sit in Briceno’s cabinet. The PM also disclosed that Senior Counsel Douglas Mendes was paid another 224 thousand 745 dollars and 73 cents for legal fees he performed for the Government to date. For fees both to the firm and Mendes, the PM noted that some of the engagements are ongoing court matters, which require further legal work to be performed. As such, the PM explained that quote “the additional work to be done cannot yet be determined.” End quote. The PM also told Peyrefitte that when he was Attorney General, Peyrefitte retained Senior Counsel Mendes as well.