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Legal Advice Center Relocates

The Belize Legal Advice Center, formerly located in the government-owned building on Gabourel Lane, which has also housed the Vital Statistics Office for the past 10 years, is moving to a new location on Albert Street. Office furniture, files and computer equipment were being loaded onto a truck on Thursday, April 26.

But this is no ordinary relocation. The Legal Advice Center paid no rent for the building on Gabourel Lane but, on Albert Street, they will pay a monthly rent of $5,000 to their new landlady, Norma Pitts-Nembhard,  the sister of former Attorney General Bernard Q.A. Pitts.

This hardly appears to be a prudent financial decision in a time of scarce resources and serious fiscal belt-tightening.

Already understaffed, the Legal Advice Center could have used the money that will now go out for rent to hire another attorney to assist poor Belizeans, who are in desperate need of their inexpensive legal services.

Foreign Minister and Attorney General, Wilfred Elrington told The Reporter the move was necessary because the Gabourel Lane building was dilapidated and unpleasant.

“We put some money into it, but I don’t think  it was able to go very far. This building is in terrible, terrible shape and so many of our people have to go there,” said Elrington.

“I have been told that the building is not only dilapidated, but it has been condemned by the Ministry of Housing,” Elrington added.

But when asked about the Vital Statistics Office that is still located in the building, Elrington said that he is hoping to find the resources to relocate that office as well.

But a check with the Housing and Planning Department in Belize City revealed that they had no idea the building had been condemned. The Reporter also contacted the City Engineer at the Local Building Authority of the Belize City Council.

An officer at the Local Building Authority also had no prior knowledge  that building had been condemned.

Upon further investigation at the Vital Statistics Office, the Deputy Registrar General Lovinia Daniels said she knew nothing about the building being condemned.

In fact, as soon as the Legal Advice Center clears out, she plans to relocate her data entry staff in some of the vacant spaces, she said.

Unconfirmed reports also suggest that the son of Solicitor General Cheryl Krusen is soon to take up appointment as the Director of the Legal Advice Center, replacing attorney Phillip Palacio who resigned earlier this year.


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