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#496365 - 10/03/14 11:11 AM PM, AG Say Buh-Bye Bar Association
Marty Online   happy
And the other big piece of legislative business coming out of the House today was the Legal Profession Act - which will make it so that lawyers no longer have to be members of the Bar Association, and no longer have to pay an annual membership fee. It will also change the composition of the General Legal Council.

For the Barrow Administration which has long been at odds with the Bar - which it says is pro PUP - it is a signal accomplishment - for the PUP it is an extension of a police of discord:..

Hon. Francis Fonseca, Leader of The Opposition
"The purpose and intent of the body and the association is a public purpose and if there are difficulties with the performance of the Bar then lets address those, but this attempt as the bill seeks to, to really undermine the Bar Association and really to dismantle the Bar Association in our view. It certainly not something we should support. It's a bill that's truly reflection of this UDP government; if I cant control you or don't like what you are saying or what you are doing, then I will seek to destroy you, to undermine you, to discredit you - to use the power of the state against you. I mean that really is not the direction that Belizeans want to see the country going. Not just because a government feels that the Bar is a bunch of PUPs that means that you must then resolve to destroy the Bar and break up the Bar? That is absolutely ridiculous man, it's crazy - dividing our society, destroying our society."

Hon. Dean Barrow, Prime Minister
"You are saying that if it isn't broke don't fix it? Well Mr. Speaker I am here to tell you that it is broke and has been broke for a long, long time. With respect to the question of discipline, this must be the only jurisdiction in the world with respect to lawyers where no lawyer has ever been disbarred. I don't know of any lawyer ever having been punished and you are telling me that the way the general legal council of the bar which is in fact given the jurisdiction in terms of discipline - you are telling me that the way that general legal council has been functioning has been effective? I don't know if anybody having been punish and God knows there have been complaints. Legions of complaints made by members of the public. As it is now everybody must pay a membership fee to them whether you want to belong to them or not - no man, I don't care. You say that there is nothing unconstitutional about that mandatory enforce membership of the Bar Association. Well if it's not unconstitutional and I would argue that, it is wrong, it is morally wrong. How will you force me to belong to a bar association because I am a lawyer if I don't want to belong to the Bar Association and speaking for myself I do not want to belong to your bar association."

Today's debate on the bill - which was dominated by the lawyers who are parliamentarians - was unusually unkind to the Bar Association - and we'll have some choice sound bytes from that for u tomorrow.

Channel 7


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#496502 - 10/07/14 10:51 AM Re: PM, AG Say Buh-Bye Bar Association [Re: Marty]
Marty Online   happy

The Last Call For The Bar?

When the Senate meets on Wednesday, it is expected to pass the Legal Profession Amendment Act - signaling the end for the Bar Association as we know it. Once the bill is assented to by the Governor General - the Bar will no longer be able to collect compulsory fees from attorneys - and membership in the association will no longer be mandatory for those attorneys.

Some view it is a day to be rude, while others say, who cares?

Whichever way, the end of the Bar Association in its original incarnation it is at hand - and so Thursday's exchange in the House of Representatives could be seen as a kind of eulogy for the Bar Association as we once knew it. And, like a drunken thief who had done wrong by everyone including his own mother - even those who defended the bar couldn't find that much good to say about it:..

Hon. Dean Barrow, Prime Minister
"Nobody cares you know, nobody out there cares about what's going on with respect to lawyers and the Bar Association of Belize."

Hon. Francis Fonseca, Leader of The Opposition
"We are not defending the Bar. The Bar has a long history that you can look at and from time to time there have been very questionable chapters in that history."

Hon. Dolores Balderamos Garcia, Belize Rural Central Rep.
"Mr. Speaker, many Belizeans see attorneys as fat cats, but I can tell you that you have some good ones, you have some bad ones."

Hon. Francis Fonseca, Leader of The Opposition
"So the Bar, the Belizeans have serious concerns about the role and function of the Bar."

Hon. Wilfred Elrington, Attorney General
"Regretfully, it is evident that not many of us were properly trained. This Bar Association does public service for nobody and you will see how pernicious it was and untruthful."

Hon. Dean Barrow, Prime Minister
"How will you force me to belong to a bar association because I am a lawyer if I don't want to belong to the Bar Association? And speaking for myself I do not want to belong to your bar association."

Channel 7


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