PM Barrow Again Defends Retaining Ex-Wife's Law Firm

[Linked Image] Earlier on we showed you the testy exchange across the House floor between current Minister of Education Patrick Faber and former Minister Cordel Hyde. Well, that wasn't the only bit of fireworks between a current post holder and his predecessor. Prime Minister Dean Barrow had a go at his predecessor Said Musa. Musa asked how much government has paid to retain private attorneys to do its legal work. It's a subject of interest because the Prime Minister has been criticized for engaging the firm of his ex wife Lois Young to do most of government's legal work. But that relationship didn't make the PM step back even a little - he said that of the 24 cases that government is presently involved in - most were created by his predecessor's bad contracts.

Hon. Dean Barrow, Prime Minister

"Apart from $92,574 to Michael Young's Firm, $1.5 million over two years was paid to Lois Young's Law Firm. This was and remains the government's firm of choice because it is one of the very litigation firms in this country. It had a record of public service legal action against PUP perfidy before the change of government, it is utterly dedicated to the government's legal work for and on behalf of the people of Belize and most important of all because that firm gives us value for money. Thus it is that while we have paid the firm $1.5 million over two years, the firm has in turn recovered for us $42,532,466.00. Let me break that down for you again. It is broken down as follows: $11, 431,592.00 from the Belize Bank which is taxes which the Belize Bank owed but which the Belize Bank refused to pay claiming the cover of this illegal settlement deed signed by the member from Fort George. That is why we were in court collecting taxes due to the people of this country which you purported to sign away.

Apart from that $11,431,592 - $4,664,250.00; $2,227,000.00; $4,263,674.00 - all from Telemedia and its previous masters and again all of which they had refused to pay under the illegal Accommodation Agreement signed by the questioner the member of Fort George. Added to all this is of course the $20 million in Venezuela housing money recovered from the Belize Bank. That was the money that had illegally been diverted to the Belize Bank by the very questioner, by the member from Fort George as the then Minister of Finance and for which he was criminally charged. So we spent $1.5 million with Lois Young's law firm over 2 years for 24 cases and have to date recovered $42 million. That Mr. Speaker is value for money.

Now in concluding, I would just like to compare with the PUP record in this record. Anybody remember Jeff Prosser and ICC and the suit brought against his government in Florida? Mr. Speaker with respect to that one case, and I have the list of fees paid out here, they paid $7,159,954.56. In concluding I have to remember what this great Virginian, the Senator from Virginia 19th century fellow, John Randolph, said in describing some official, he said he is a man of splendid of abilities but utterly corrupt like rotten mackerel by moonlight he shines and stinks. Well the first part of that equation about the splendid abilities does not come into play when we are talking about the questioner so you see in his case he does not shine, only stink."

Live and let live