After throwing light on his discussions with the IMF, Courtenay delivered his own blow on the insults directed at him by the head of the government.
Eamon Courtenay, Attorney at Law
“As I said yesterday, this type of name-calling, this type of behavior is not the way a prime Minister should behave. But as I said, I will speak if I believe something is wrong. Let us look at the facts. When Mister Barrow was in opposition, he represented and was a strong advocate for the Maya in their claim against the government. He is elected as government and what does he do, he betrayed the Maya, he turned against them. But that is not where it ended, it went further. He sent his attorney to court to deny that the Maya of Belize are indigenous to our country. Listen, the government of Belize disowning the Maya of this country and he is calling me a traitor. I say again to Mister Barrow, ‘Noh watch me, watch yohself.”
With the steam emanating from the airwaves in the war of words, it is a relief that there is no call-in show on Saturday.
The two faces of Barrow
On Thursday night’s newscast, attorneys Godfrey Smith and Eamon Courtenay exposed the two faces of Prime Minister Dean Barrow. The PM has been attacking interests of Lord Michael Ashcroft in Belize. Barrow took to the airwaves to condemn Smith and Courtenay. Courtenay responded to the charges by saying, “Mr. Barrow is today earning thousands upon thousands upon thousands of dollars from Lord Ashcroft as we speak today so whilst he is saying he is at war with Lord Ashcroft, he is taking money from Lord Ashcroft’s company.” And while the PM’s rhetoric is expected to continue, it seems that the two faces of Barrow has also been a doubled edged sword when it came to Doctor Abdulai Conteh who demitted office on Thursday. The constitution allowed the former chief justice, to complete cases started under his tenure, but Barrow would have none of it. At his farewell at the Supreme Court in the company of his peers, the Bar president referred to him as the Landmark Justice, since he would follow the rule of the law, even if it meant that the losing client could be the government. That occurred in the Maya Land Right’s Case and the CJ also ruled against the formidable Church in the Maria Roches case, after she was dismissed for being pregnant. And while it is believed that judgments such as the Maya case may have been the tolling of his death knell as CJ, strangely enough, it was those landmark rulings that Dean Barrow would praise when he was Leader of the Opposition. In 2003, Barrow represented accused drug dealer, George Herbert, who was believed to have been kidnapped by the authorities and shipped to the United States before extradition proceedings were exhausted. The CJ at the time had ruled against the government and in favor of Barrow’s client. Here’s Barrow’s October twenty-fourth, 2003 interview, reading from the pages of the ruling, when his other face, he ate, loved and prayed from the Chief Justice’s rulings.
Dean Barrow, Attorney for George Herbert (File: Oct 24, 2003)
“He gave two declarations, the first being that the rights of George Herbert under sections five, six and ten of the Belize Constitution were violated by the respondents, being the Attorney General representing the Commissioner of Police and the Minister of Police. The second declaration was that in the circumstances, what was done amounted to an unlawful expulsion of George Herbert, a citizen of Belize from the territory of Belize. His third order was, and I quote, “I direct the respondent to put in place measures to secure the return of the applicant to Belize, including all such diplomatic approaches as may be appropriate.” Fourthly, “the respondent is to hold an inquiry,” the respondent again being the Attorney General for the Government of Belize, “the respondent is to hold an inquiry into the circumstances of this incident and to take disciplinary proceedings against those responsible.” And then fifthly, he made an award of thirty thousand dollars with interest at six percent to be paid as damages by the Government to Herbert. And finally an award of five thousand dollars for costs to Herbert, again to be paid by the Government of Belize.”
“Whether there will actually be any attempt to discipline the Police Commissioner is perhaps a trickier question. The Government might well say, we’ll hold the inquiry first and at the end of that inquiry could perhaps legitimately say the results don’t disclose a basis for disciplining the Commissioner. It would I think cause eyebrows to be raised, because in fact under cross-examination by me the Commissioner admitted that he had no authority to do what he did and that he knew at the time he did it that he didn’t have authority to do it. So in a sense, the matter doesn’t need to be inquired into as a result of his admissions. But I can see the Government engaging in the process to satisfy the Chief Justice’s order, but somehow manipulating that process so that in the end nobody takes any additional heat.”