Denys Barrow also spoke to the media about his legal fees that Government has had to pay to him for the numerous cases he handles for them on the premise that he is “the best lawyer in Belize”. Such was the statement of his brother, Prime Minister Dean Barrow when questioned about the issue of nepotism and the accusation that he is enriching his family members at the expense of the Belizean people. Dennys Barrow says he has been in law for quite a while and has served as a judge of appeal in Belize and the Eastern Caribbean, so, the cost of $1,000 per hour he charges for cases taken on behalf of the Government are not outlandish. In fact, he says, they are the same as anyone of his distinguished standing would charge.
Denys Barrow, Senior Council: No. It is political mischief and one expects it in the course of a political campaign. Regrettably, there is not any kind of corruption, any kind of shady dealing on the part of Dean Barrow that they can point to, so what they do is they say because I charged the usually fee that a very senior attorney will charge, and the government pays this for my services, they are saying that this is nepotism, that this is something which should reflect badly upon Dean Barrow. I regret that they have seen it fit to do this because they all know that the fees that I charge are the same fees as lawyers at my level of practice, my experience of practicing would charge.
As a counter, Barrow points to a recent bill offered by Lord Peter Goldsmith, a Queen’s Counsel and former British Attorney General, to the Government for costs of a thousand British pounds or BZ$3,000 per hour for a recent case. And how much is Barrow going to be paid out of the settlements for the utilities nationalization case? It will not be an overall percentage, says the older brother, because the younger brother got cold feet.
Denys Barrow, Senior Council: Unfortunately my brother got scared and refused to pay me a percentage in relation to these matters and therefore my political friends have done me the disservice of having my fees reduced. So regrettably, no, no percentage for me.
Reporter: They will be happy to hear that. The document they tried to point to as proof positive is the settlement or the service you did for the Paranga Boat in which you were paid 20% which amounted to $500,000.00 and they say just on a reactionary look at that, it is exorbitant. Can you explain how that number was if you would entertain us on that particular query.
Denys Barrow, Senior Council: But I think Daniel, gentlemen, all of us know that it is a standard debt collection fee to charge 20%. The banks charge it for collecting any debt. It is standard in the legal professions.