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#362350 - 12/22/09 01:20 AM Sedi Elrington Defends "Artificial Border" Comment
Short Offline
Sedi Elrington Defends "Artificial Border" Comment

Last week at the OAS in Washington DC, Foreign Minister Wilfred Elrington called the Belize Guatemala border “artificial”. The use of that single word that has awakened bitter nationalist sentiment and provoked strident criticisms of the Minister with the most passionate calling him a sellout and the most casual calling him, plainly, crazy. But when we called him this morning, Elrington was cool and mostly unperturbed – in fact, even with all the heated sentiment flying about, he was prepared to defend his words. The confusion he says is about reading the wrong meaning into what he said – specifically using the wrong definition of the word artificial. He and Jules Vasquez discussed it at some length this afternoon.

Wilfred Sedi Elrington, Minister of Foreign Affairs

“The border which now exists between Belize and Guatemala was in consequence of the 1859 treaty which was a manmade border; the British and the Guatemalans got together and agreed upon it. That is all the word artificial means in that context, a manmade border. You have other types of borders which also have been agreed upon by men but this is not necessarily manmade. For example, when you have the rivers running through two countries like in the United States between Mexico and the United States you have a natural border running, the river, and up north by Mexico we always say that the Rio Hondo up there is a natural border between us and Mexico. In the case of the western border, that is a border that is agreed upon by the British and the Guatemalans years. It is a manmade border and that is the simple meaning of artificial, it being manmade.”

Jules Vasquez,

“Artificial also means not real. So the interpretation taken by many, because it is such an provocative subject, is that the fact of this not real border does not make us different. That means that people interpret it to mean that you just said that we don’t have a border.”

Wilfred Sedi Elrington,

“The first meaning of the word artificial in the dictionary is manmade but nobody seems to want to even read the dictionary these days. But you had the decency to say to me well what do you mean by it and I am saying to you here is a border agreed upon by the British and the Guatemalans. That border does not stop people from being people so that notwithstanding the fact that you have a border, whether you want to call it artificial or just a border without putting an adjective to it, it does not detract from the fact that you have people coming together and working together.

I believe that our borders where they are is the correct border. That is the position of the government, that is my position and I am prepared to go and defend that at the International Court of Justice. So I had no hesitation in moving towards that position and I think that that is the proper thing to do. I want to emphasize though that all those who are screaming now about the border were never around in the early days of the 60s when we were demonstrating about Guatemala. When I personally in 1968 was arrested and convicted for campaigning against Guatemala, campaigning against the Heads of Agreement, the proposals, the Webster Proposals and the like, I have always been at the forefront of those struggles.

I certainly have no doubt that this is my country, the entire area as defined in our constitution. I have no doubt about that. I don’t believe that I must get on the mountain top and scream that night and day and think that is going to carry the issue away. That is not going to advance the situation any further. It is going to court and we are going to go to court and hopefully get that result.”

Jules Vasquez,

“The criticism is two things; one is that you are projecting the wrong message internationally, that is not the type of thing one should say at the OAS, that you’re inviting Guatemalans to disrespect the border, that is the first criticism. The second criticism, I will say it plainly, because it’s been said to me plainly and certainly over the radio as well, that you are crazy to say the border is artificial.”

Wilfred Sedi Elrington,

“But you have what I have said there. Do you find it innocuous? Anything offensive by what I have said? You’ve read it.”

Jules Vasquez,

“Minister plainly, I find it a careless use of language.”

Wilfred Sedi Elrington,


Jules Vasquez,

“Because it is imprecise because artificial means not real. That is the default meaning of artificial.”

Wilfred Sedi Elrington,

“Well Jules what I would invite you to do is take your dictionary and as you open it the very first, the very first…isn’t that correct?”

Jules Vasquez,

“But the plain meaning….”

Wilfred Sedi Elrington,

“But don’t you look into the dictionary to find the plain meaning of the word?”

Jules Vasquez,

“I don’t because it is what it is.”

Wilfred Sedi Elrington,

“But is the dictionary the place where we people look to find the meaning of words? And you’re saying that is not the meaning that’s contained in the dictionary?”

Jules Vasquez,

“I am saying there is more than one meaning and the plain meaning of the word, the default meaning, the meaning one goes to first is not who made it, God or man because that’s what you’re talking about, the plain meaning is artificial means unreal.”

Wilfred Sedi Elrington,

“You see and let me backtrack a little and say to you that I welcome the public interest people are taking in this matter because I think I its of utmost importance and so I welcome that. I cannot be faulted if you want to take an interpretation which is different from the one I mean and which is the one which is contained in the Oxford or Webster dictionary. I can’t be faulted for that.”

Jules Vasquez,

“If there is such a cleavage of meaning, just a fracturing of what you meant to say, your meaning was not it has been interpreted to have been, if that has happened here in this good old English speaking country then what happens in Guatemala, how will they interpret your saying artificial?”

Wilfred Sedi Elrington,

“Let me tell Jules that you can’t blame me if you don’t understand the English language, that is not my fault. You can’t also blame me if you don’t want to use the dictionary. That again is not my fault. I can perhaps say that in the future I certainly can be much more careful in choice of my words. But as I pointed out to you, the first meaning that comes to mind when you look it up is manmade and boundaries are manmade.”

Jules Vasquez,

“Seeing how your meaning has fractured so greatly, do you wish you had said the border is manmade?”

Wilfred Sedi Elrington,

“No and I’ll tell you why. I was reading a book recently and I came across a Ugandan phrase. The Ugandan phrase says that in a court that is manned by chicken, the cockroach has no chance. In a court that is manned by chicken, the cockroach has no chance. I find that there are people who will take whatever I do or say out of context and make a big issue of it and that seems to be, somehow or the other they seem to think that that is political fine.”

Jules Vasquez,

“You have to find it personally enjoyus when people say as some are now saying that Wilfred is a sell-out?”

Wilfred Sedi Elrington,

“Yes I’ve heard it but that is normally a reflection of themselves. You normally think of yourselves and that is the sort of thing you would do. As a man thinks, so is he. The track record will show, the record will show, I personally have not sold out on anything.”

Ambassador and lead negotiator to Guatemala Fred Martinez – who was at the OAS and participated in our interview stressed that the OAS press release which contained the quote was not an official statement but a news release from the OAS. The difference says Martinez is important, because the statement was not made in an official meeting, and the interview in which Elrington made the comment was conducted during a break outside the meetings.

And while the argument about the meaning and implication of the term an artificial border – form what we’ve seen – for the Guatemalans living in the communities adjoining the Chiquibul forest, the border is artificial – meaning that they don’t really observe it – they move in and out of Belizean territory as they wish – decimating and despoiling the forest resources at their whim, almost. Today Ambassador Martinez and Minister Elrington said that those types of incursions are just what last Wednesday’s meeting in Washington were about.

Jules Vasquez,

“One has the sense of being outraged while at the same time overwhelmed because the place is completely desecrated. You are there with the soldiers and the soldiers are tiptoeing around our territory. They are scared, we are scared, with good reason because the people you encounter are shooting at rangers in their own country so what wouldn’t they do in our country. How do we solve a problem like that, it is so vast?”

Wilfred Sedi Elrington,

“Yeah Jules and the first step towards solving it is to educate the Belizean people on the realities on the ground. Don’t get sensational about it and no knee jerk. But all of us have a responsibility to educate the Belizeans as to what is happening and what we need to do.”

Fred Martinez, Ambassador to Guatemala

“The Guatemalans, and this is one of the reasons we met in Washington, because Belize has some very complaints about the fact that we have been constantly having to face these people along the border line and stopping them from coming into Belize and our complaint to the Guatemalans is that you are not doing enough to dissuade your people from coming across. The confidence building measures call for you to help dissuade your people, to look for new opportunities in the Peten thus stopping those people from having to come into Belize. They are telling us we have a big problem ourselves, our forest rangers are being shot at which is no lie, their forest rangers are under constant attacks. We ourselves have had to set up military people to guide our forest rangers because our rangers are under constant attack. So it is a problem both of us are facing. Well we know you have a problem but the problem we’re having is not by our Belizean people, the problem is by your people coming across into our territory.”

But what will happen specifically with the Guatemalan milpa plantation that we encountered in Belizean territory – 500 meters from the Guatemalan border. It’s in the adjacency zone – which is a one kilometer buffer on either side of the border.

Live and let live

#362421 - 12/22/09 04:22 PM Re: Sedi Elrington Defends "Artificial Border" Comment [Re: Short]
elbert Offline
We need a Harrier jet fly over to help them define a British Protectorate Status,nothing 'Artificial' about that.
Its been a while maybe they have forgotten.
The Dive Shops Daily Blog

#362502 - 12/23/09 03:41 PM Sedi under fire!
Marty Offline
A wildfire of public outrage continues to burn within Belizean veins, as leading public figures have joined the voices of concerned Belizean citizens who have taken issue with statements made last Thursday by Belize Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Attorney General Wilfred “Sedi” Elrington, who told press staff of the Organization of American States (OAS) in Washington that the border Belize shares with Guatemala is “artificial” – that the people on the two sides of the border are the same, with the same aspirations and desires.
Some have gone on record to call for his apology, others for his removal or resignation from Cabinet, because of what the term denotes to them – that the border is “not real.”
“We can’t have a minister of government talking about an abstract or artificial border,” said Leader of the Opposition, Johnny Briceño, calling the comment “ludicrous.”
Briceño told Amandala that at the very least, Elrington should publicly apologize. If a minister of government were to make such statements about the border under his tenure, “he would have to go.”
However, “that is a decision the Prime Minister needs to make,” said Briceño.
Speaking with Amandala tonight, Prime Minister Dean Barrow said that he would not, for the moment, contemplate stripping Elrington of his portfolio. He said he would go out on a limb to say that he is SURE that Elrington would, in the future, be more careful to not use words to substantiate such interpretations.
According to Barrow, he has not yet spoken to Elrington about the matter, has not read the OAS press release, and has not seen the television news reports on the issue; though he was briefed earlier by Cabinet Secretary James Murphy, who, Barrow said, told him that Elrington had indicated on Channel 7 that he wished he had made himself clearer.
(What Elrington did tell Channel 7 was that he could perhaps use different language in the future, but he firmly held his ground with no regrets for saying Belize’s border is “artificial,” using a Ugandan cockroach analogy to reiterate his claims of persecution against him: “In a court that is manned by chickens, the cockroach has no chance.”)
Barrow said that he has no doubt in Elrington’s bona fides, at all! He thinks calling for his resignation is blowing the issue completely out of proportion. Neither does he think an apology or further clarification to the OAS is needed, as some have suggested.
The Prime Minister does concede, however, that the way Minister Elrington framed his statement was “unfortunate.”
Senator Godwin Hulse said that in diplomatic language, our officials need to be very careful.
“This statement [about the artificial border] would be true in the context of a country like the USA, which has different states and intra-state borders which are not intended to separate but simply for the internal administration of states within the same country...” said Senator Hulse. “The same would be true of the departments of Guatemala or the districts of Belize, within the country of Guatemala  and Belize, respectively, and since we are not a department of Guatemala, our border with Guatemala cannot be classified as artificial, nor can we be classified as ‘still the same people, with the same aspirations and desires.’”
Elrington made a big slip and should apologize or resign if his comments were not reflective of the position of the government and people of Belize, said Hulse.
He suggests that Minister Elrington “...needs to offer a clear statement on this matter and inform the OAS accordingly, requesting them to issue another press statement with the clarification....
“I think also that the Government should clearly state what its policy is on our border with Guatemala and whether the Government considers it ‘artificial.’
“If not, then the Minister has not represented the views of the Government and people of Belize, and, therefore, should apologize or resign from the post of foreign minister,” said Senator Hulse.
Elrington’s comments, in their context, diminish the importance of the Belize-Guatemala border, continued Hulse.
“If Guatemala wanted to demonstrate such position of common aspirations, then they simply should drop their unfounded claim, and we could get on with our lives,” he concluded.
Gregory Ch’oc, Executive Director, Sarstoon Temash Institute for Indigenous Management (SATIIM), calls the Minister’s comments “outrightly outrageous.”
Ch’oc said that Elrington should have relied on his technical team (ambassadors) to draft a carefully worded statement to the press at the OAS level, because that’s what the Guatemalans do.
“I know for a fact that in Guatemala, the Commission de Belice signed off on every word that is used in any talks or documents that pertains to Belize,” Ch’oc says. “SATIIM and Fundaeco had developed a project, [proposed] to the British Embassy in Guatemala for both organizations to work with communities in the border areas.
“The proposals never got funded, because the Commission would not accept ‘border’ in the proposal,” said Ch’oc.
“The Guatemalan negotiators understand the significance of the terminologies used. Look at the adjacency zone, which I hope will not come to haunt us should it go to the ICJ,” he added.
Ch’oc “strongly” urges Prime Minister Barrow to replace the Foreign Minister. If the Prime Minister refuses, this would confirm, said Ch’oc, that the Foreign Minister’s statement is the UDP Government’s official position.
Patrick Rogers, politician and civic activist, who also thinks Elrington should be replaced as minister, said, “...Elrington stands ALONE! He does not have a FACTION he controls in the House of Representatives; as such, he is no threat to the PM if he is placed in the back bench!”
Sharon Pitts, spokesperson for the Patrimony & Stewardship Working Group (PSWG), named for patriotic stalwart, Philip S.W. Goldson, issued a press release today marked “urgent.”
“Diplomatic double-speak and diplomatic dilettantes can get our country into diplomatic ‘doo-doo,’” said the release, taking issue with the message Elrington sent with his private interview with OAS press staff by referring to the border as artificial.
Pitts had staged a one-woman protest and thrown eggs at members of the Belize negotiating team last December after they had signed the compromis (special agreement) to take the Guatemalan claim for a final and binding decision at the International Court of Justice (ICJ). The PSWG goes on record, again, to reject that notion.
“We did not appoint leaders to preside over the dissolution of Belize,” said the PSWG release, adding that, “If the people don’t trust the leader, it is because they have breached the public trust by closing ranks against the people and country.”
Poet and activist, Harley Burn, a.k.a. River of Fire, said: “Technically, you [Elrington] are correct that artificial means manmade. But [if] you were using a figure of speech, figuratively you were wrong, because the border has been established since 1859...
“You need to resign as foreign minister, for you are not speaking for the people of Belize.”
Even if Elrington’s definition of artificial border (erected by man) versus natural border (a river or other natural marker) were to be applied, for argument’s sake, it would not ring true for the district of Toledo, since Belize is separated from Guatemala there by the Sarstoon River, which, by the definition Elrington gave on Channel 7 and Channel 5 Tuesday night, would fall within the ambit of a natural border.
“We believe that our foreign minister spoke out of context, and because he represents and speaks for all Belizeans, we demand that he publicly apologizes for endangering our right to self-determination,” the Toledo-based People’s National Party (PNP) leader, Wil Maheia, said in a letter to the editor.
Like several other Belizeans, “artificial border?”,with a question mark, was the instant reaction of Michael Finnegan, Minister of Housing and area representative for the ruling UDP for Mesopotamia, Belize City, when he learned of the statement Elrington had made at the OAS last Thursday.
   “He should consider his choice of words,” advised Finnegan, who believes, nonetheless, that Elrington’s “heart was in the right place.”
“I don’t like the word artificial,” said Finnegan, adding that there is a boundary treaty between the English and Guatemala dating back to the 1800’s that is legally binding.
“Our mental skies are different,” he said of Belizeans and Guatemalans. They want our land; they deplete our forests, invade and take our mahogany, the Mesopotamia area representative elaborated.
It was a Cabinet decision that the dispute should go to the ICJ, though Cabinet’s position is that Belize belongs to Belizeans, said Finnegan.
Amandala asked him: “What is the pulse of your constituents?”
“They don’t want to go,” said Finnegan.
“Why?” we asked. He replied: “They are afraid that the ICJ may rule against Belize.”
Finnegan said that there is no need for a public attack on anyone, especially Mister Elrington.
“I don’t think he wants to give an inch of Belize to Guatemala. I believe his heart is in the right place,” said Finnegan, who recollected a younger Elrington back in the ‘60’s, as they fought shoulder-to-shoulder, vocally against the Webster proposals. “I don’t think he has changed.”
Punta Gorda’s Wil Maheia, activist and environmentalist, who recently led a mission to erect the Belize flag at Gracias de Adios in Toledo, said, “I don’t see how he [Elrington] could talk about trust and confidence when every time we turn around there are incursions. So I find that statement to be totally out of context. How can you say something like that when every time you turn around those same people are crossing into our territory?”
Rafael Manzanero, program director of the Chiquibul Maya Mountain Program and Executive Director of Friends for Conservation and Development, based in San Jose, Succotz, Cayo, very near to the border, reported Thursday:
“Our recent imagery for 2009 indicates that for the Chiquibul National Park alone over the years, a total of approximately 8,000 acres have been impacted. Via satellite imagery, it is calculated that some 925 acres were actively being utilized for the period 2008-2009. Our ground reconnaissance has verified that primarily, the active zones have been under agricultural farming.”
The Chiquibul National Park, spanning 200,000-plus acres, is “the highest impacted of all the bordering protected areas with Guatemala,” he added.
“The Chiquibul forest [roughly 400,000 acres] is one of Belize’s largest remaining blocks of tropical forest, and we ought to maintain it due to its natural, cultural, economic and aesthetic values,” Manzanero added.
However, he warned that unless concerted efforts are taken on both sides of the border, “The communities dotted across in Guatemala will continue exerting pressure” on Belize’s forests and natural resources.
When we spoke with him about the issue (see our extensive interview with Elrington for his side of the story), Minister Elrington had no apology, but instead took issue with Amandala for “the spin” he said we put on his statements at the OAS.
In speaking to Channel 5 News last night, Elrington restated his stance: “...to be very candid with you, I’m not as hung up as some people are on the whole concept of the border. [A] border is a demarcation... That marks you politically, that is your geographic boundary. In this case, it is agreed upon by man, but it is not my view that it creates a whole big difference between people.”

#362504 - 12/23/09 03:42 PM Re: Sedi under fire! [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline
political nitpicking on Sedi. He speaks human truth. That's hard on politicians.

gotta love this:
“In a court that is manned by chickens, the cockroach has no chance.”

#363542 - 01/07/10 05:04 AM Re: Sedi under fire! [Re: Marty]
Short Offline
Originally Posted By: 7 News Belize
Mark Espat Calls for Sedi Elrington to Resign or Be Removed

And while the Prime Minister’s first priority today was meeting with the gangs, the Deputy Leader of The Opposition Mark Espat took it as his priority to lash out at Foreign Minister Wilfred Elrington. Despite howls of protest and calls for his resignation form the KREMANDALA media group, Elrington has held steadfast to his description of the border as artificial; in fact he has amplified his commitment to the word. And that’s why the PUP Deputy leader whose party has issued no official position on the matter today came out swinging against Elrington – demanding his removal or resignation. He told us why.

Hon. Mark Espat, PUP Deputy Leader

“The Minister of Foreign Affairs has had enough time, too much time to come forward and repudiate the remarks that he had made, to say to the Belizean people listen, when I said that the border was artificial I misspoke, I spoke in error and I am sorry. On repeated occasions, Minister Elrington has refused to acknowledge the error of his mouth. What I would have expected by now is for the Foreign Minister to have said is that not only is our border real, definable, but that it is enviable and that as Foreign Minister he will be doing everything possible to ensure that the invasions that are taking place, for example in the Chiquibul Forest Reserve are halted.

But no, what Mr. Elrington has sought to do is to give us a lesson in the English language. Well that is our first language and we know what real means and we know what artificial means. And so I believe that having failed to retract, to backstep, that the Minister of Foreign Affairs should resign and if he refuses to resign, he should be made to resign because his statements and his repeated refusals to express regret has earned him the loss of confidence from the people.

The Hon. Dean Barrow has set or attempted to set a very high standard for the conduct of his Ministers. In fact he suspended a Minister for six months when one was found to be allegedly bringing beer across the border without paying taxes. He expelled another one because purportedly he did not campaign for the ruling party in the municipal elections. Here we have the Foreign Minister crossing the line on an existential threat to Belize. I believe the Prime Minister has to go further than saying this is unfortunate. This goes to the heart of his performance and therefore that is why I believe that either Minister Elrington needs to step aside, retract his statements, or if he refuses to do either of those two then I think it incumbent on the Prime Minister to act.

If you are my neighbour and you claim my property, then I can’t have my lawyer cuddling you because then I am going to become suspicious and I am going to seek a new lawyer if I have any intention of winning. We have our property. This is our 8,867 square miles. We don’t need to go to the ICJ to verify that it is an unfounded claim and I believe that the Foreign Minister of Belize, when he speaks on behalf of the Belizean people should make it absolutely clear that our borders are real, they are definable, they are enviable, and he should not be splitting hairs and trying as he is to give us a lesson in what artificial means and what real means. We know very well what it means.”

Jules Vasquez,
“If you take Mr. Elrington’s stance, to play the devil’s advocate, if you look it up in the dictionary as I have done, indeed he is right. Artificial means made by man. That is the first meaning. So why should he resign or be removed based on, he is actually right.”

Hon. Mark Espat,
“Jules Belizeans are frustrated and tired of disloyally double speak. We are tired of splitting hairs and litigating matters that should be straight forward. The issue is very simple: our border is real, the Foreign Minister should not be saying that our borders are artificial, he has shown a clear lack of political maturity in not accepting that he misspoke, back tracking and saying that is not what I meant, this is what I mean. I believe that he has no choice. If he will respect the will of the Belizean people, he should step aside from that specific portfolio.”

Espat first came out against the policies pursued by the Foreign Minister in November of 2008, before the special agreement was signed. He urged Elrington to take it to the House of Representatives for approval before it was signed. That didn’t happen. Espat has also publicly opposed taking the differendum to the International Court of Justice.

Of course, in all this, it’s not lost on us that Espat is the first PUP to hold the Albert Division which was arch – nationalist Philip Goldson’s stronghold. Elrington, on the other hand, came into politics as an N-I-P – which was Goldson’s party. So who is the real inheritor of the Goldson legacy? Espat deflected comparisons – as any PUP politician must, while Elrington has recently claimed common cause with the national hero.


Originally Posted By: Channel 5 Belize
PM says he won’t reprimand Foreign Minister for his comment

Shockwaves from a verbal explosion by Foreign Minister Wilfred ‘Sedi’ Elrington while at the Organization of American States headquarters in Washington, are still agitating the public. Members of the opposition and others have called on the Prime Minister to remove the foreign minister because of his now infamous ‘artificial border’ comment. But today, the Prime Minister stood by Elrington and said Quote ‘‘hell no.”

Prime Minister Dean Barrow

“I believe that the reaction is overblown. I really think that it’s exaggerated; it is not justified by the facts. I am prepared to concede that in the context of what was said, the whole incident is very regrettable. But there are those who legitimately quarreled with what Minister Elrington and I think every allowance must be made for the strength of their feeling and the genuineness of their feeling. But how you get to there to calling for his removal, which would suggest that what is involved is more than some kind of syntactical misunderstanding. This would suggest that, as a matter of substance, Mister Elrington’s position as Foreign Minister is untenable. I cannot see that at all. I think that people have raked him over the coals—maybe deservedly so—and we ought now to move on. I can say quite clearly, there is no way in hell I would remove mister Elrington for something like this. I checked with two members of the Belize negotiating team, one of whom is a P.U.P. member, represents the opposition on the negotiating team to ascertain whether in terms of the meetings of substance that took place with the Guatemalans after which there was this press interview, whether in that meeting Minister Elrington in anyway let down the side; in anyway did not maintain the official position of this country, the agreed position. And the answer was no! Were I minister Elrington I would have said ladies and gentlemen, I used the words to mean a certain thing but it is clear that words often have more than one meaning. There were those who understood it differently and in the context of something as sensitive as our sovereignty, the sanctity of our borders, it was regrettable. I, therefore, apologize and I will move on.”

Live and let live

#364531 - 01/19/10 12:56 AM Re: The Attorney General's Apology [Re: Short]
Short Offline
The Attorney General's Apology

In the entire flap about the artificiality or non artificiality of our border – one thing that was apparent – is that Wilfred Elrington is not a contrite man – not when he feels he’s right. The Prime Minister Dean Barrow and the Party Whip Michael Finnegan urged him to apologize and move on – whether he was right or wrong. But he didn’t; his choice and as the PM said, he’s his own man. But that’s what makes today’s apology at the ceremonial opening of the Supreme Court even more remarkable. It is a quite stunning reversal considering that last year he referred to the delay in judgements as “unacceptable” and told judges they needed to be more “dedicated” and “diligent.” But this year he says it was due to his inexperience. For context we’ll replay what he said last year and what he said this morning.

[January 19th, 2009]
Hon. Wilfred Sedi Elrington, Attorney General

“I personally find it unacceptable that in fact we are experiencing these inordinate delays in the giving of judgements in cases. I find it unacceptable that almost every single case the judges have to reserve judgement. I see no reason because many of the cases are not complicated, they are simple cases and I can say that because I have personal experience on the bench. So I think that the judges need to look more inwards; they got to be much more diligent, more dedicated.”

Hon. Wilfred Sedi Elrington,

“My Lord I have been aware that there have been persons present in last year’s opening ceremony who took offense to some things I said in that presentation and I wish on this occasion to express my deepest regret that I was the cause of anyone on that occasion. That was never my intention and I humbly beg that any unhappy remark I made be attributed solely to inadvertence, ignorance, and perhaps inexperience.”

[January 19th, 2009]

“The members of our judiciary are the very best paid public officers in the land. They all receive more pay than members of the Cabinet, including myself. They all have the most modern means of transportations, they have 24 hours it seems police guard, and other perks. They are the very best paid public officers in the land.

When I hear ordinary people who sometimes die before judgements are given in relatively simple cases, complaints about this intolerable state of affairs I can empathize with them because not too long ago that was not the case in Belize; that was not the case in Belize and I still believe that it is possible for many more cases to be disposed of in our courts, civil cases, during the course of a day.”

Hon. Wilfred Sedi Elrington,

“I have the greatest respect for the Magistracy. I have the greatest respect for the Supreme Court and I know of the tireless work they put into the job. I am aware of that.”

Live and let live


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