The Financial Secretary Joseph Waight also addressed the matter concerning compensation monies, as promised by the Government, as it relates to the death of Special Constable Danny Conorquie who died in the line of duty and Elisa Hunter who died as a result of being hit by the driver of Minister Elrington on November 2014. On the two separate occasions the Government of Belize announced that financial compensation will be given to both families.
So on Tuesday the media asked Joseph Waight to comment on the status of those the compensation monies. Mr Waight first spoke on the financial compensation for the family of Elisa Hunter, whom, Minister Elrington had told us, had already received payment.
“We want to extend, on behalf of the Ministry, sympathies to the family of Miss Hunter. It’s a tragic accident that no one really should have to go through. We’re sympathetic and would like to assist as much as possible.
With regard to the Minister’s statement, the Minister wasn’t quite correct. There was a request from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for an ex gracia payment. My instructions were to hold on the payment, pending clarification as to what insurance company would actually pay. Having said that, we had already paid almost five thousand seven hundred dollars for funeral expenses. The Government gave us an ex gracia payment.
Since yesterday I spoke with my Minister, the Prime Minister, who said the insurance company is taking too long, let us go ahead and make the payment. So the payment is in train, the ten thousand dollars ex gracia. [In] a few more days it should be paid.
With the ex gracia payment, the Government’s payment would be fifteen thousand dollars. [It’s a] goodwill gesture, admitting no liability, because that has to find its way through the courts. It’s a goodwill gesture of sympathy for the family of the deceased.”
Then there was the death of Danny Conorquie, who was shot in the line of duty sometime in September of last year. As a tourism police officer there are certain benefits were supposed to be paid, but the Government had promised more as a goodwill gesture.
“We did make some payment. I don’t have the exact figure, again as a goodwill gesture. He was a Tourism Police as I understand it, and there were certain benefits that should have been paid due to the death, and above that I think the Government paid ten thousand dollars. I’m not sure. I think the government paid something toward the family, with more to come. But I really don’t have the figure in front of me.
I have no instructions as to how much more to pay. I think we paid something, but I need to check.
Indeed the legal payments, when somebody dies in harness, is very small, depending on the category, but above that the Government has committed to make a payment. I have no instructions yet on how to make the payment. I think we did something and I will check when I get back to my desk.”