By Aaron Humes
BELIZE CITY, Mon. June 16, 2014
President of the Bar Association of Belize, Senior Counsel Eamon Courtenay, has denounced as “lies” suggestions by Prime Minister Dean Barrow that he is pursuing Justice of the Court of Appeal Samuel Awich on behalf of the Ashcroft Alliance.
Justice Awich, first appointed in 2011 and recently reappointed until the age of 75, has been criticized by the Bar for not having the “wherewithal” to continue serving on the bench due to extensive delays in rendering judgments.
Speaking with reporters following Monday’s case with SATIIM, Courtenay stated that the Bar has passed numerous resolutions against Justice Awich, even before Courtenay took over the presidency. Their latest statement against him was adopted by member and Leader of the Opposition Francis Fonseca in his reply to Prime Minister Barrow opposing Awich’s reappointment.
“So, for the Prime Minister to say that I am ‘sweating fever’ for the Ashcroft Group because we lost the case in which Justice Awich is involved, is a comprehensive and categorical lie. … The Prime Minister lied to this country when he said that I was in the Caribbean Court of Justice and the Caribbean Court of Justice scolded me. That is a lie. The Prime Minister said in the national Assembly on Friday that the Caribbean Court of Justice vindicated his position with respect to Awich. That is a lie.” Courtenay stated.
He added that the Prime Minister must explain what causes him to believe that Awich has “acquitted himself well” on the court.
According to Courtenay, save for one abstention, the resolutions passed by the Bar on Justice Awich were approved unanimously including close associates of the Prime Minister – Senior Counsel Denys Barrow, his brother; Liesje Chung and Naima Barrow, his nieces; and Senior Counsel Rodwell Williams, his law partner, leaving him, Barrow, in “a majority of one.”
Courtenay strongly condemned what he called the Prime Minister’s “personal” tactics with his opponents.
He said the Prime Minister needed to stop making personal attacks on those who disagree with him, even as he called him a “Penner-loving, Castro-hugging, lying Prime Minister.”
Senior Counsel Courtenay was, also on Monday, before a panel containing Justice Awich on a case in the Court of Appeal.