Attorney-General of Belize
The position of AG is outlined in Section 42 of the Constitution of Belize, which requires that the AG have been qualified for at least five years to practice as an advocate in a court of unlimited jurisdiction in the Commonwealth of Nations or the Republic of Ireland. Civil proceedings for and against the State are taken in the name of the Attorney General.
Prior to 2010, the constitution also required that the AG be a member of the House of Representatives or the Senate of Belize. As part of the Belize Constitution (Seventh Amendment) Bill, the government proposed to remove this restriction; the same bill also proposed to replace the right of appeal to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council with the Caribbean Court of Justice, and to allow dual citizens to become members of Parliament. The thinking behind this amendment was that an unelected AG could avoid becoming embroiled in partisan politics.
Then-AG Wilfred Elrington, who concurrently held the post of Minister of Foreign Affairs and Minister of Foreign Trade, justified the proposed changes by pointing out that he was already overworked due to his three positions, and that changing the requirement would allow the PM to tap the best talent from the private sector to become AG. However, in the House, Mark Espat (PUP) criticised the bill as creating a special privilege for lawyers to get around the ordinary electoral process on their way to the Cabinet, while Said Musa stated that the change should be unnecessary given that the PM already had the power to appoint a 13th member to the Senate; despite these concerns, the bill passed the House (though with the dual-citizenship MP provisions stripped out. In the Senate, Henry Gordon and Godwin Hulse expressed concern over this change, but the bill passed the Senate as well by a vote of eight-to-two with two abstentions.
List of Attorneys-General
- Dean Barrow, 1984–1989 under PM Manuel Esquivel
- Godfrey Smith, 1999–2003 under PM Said Musa
- Eamon Courtenay, 2004–? under PM Said Musa
- Wilfred Elrington, 2008–2010 under PM Dean Barrow
- B. Q. Pitts, 2010–2012 under PM Dean Barrow
- Wilfred Elrington (second), 2012–present under PM Dean Barrow
- "Part V: The Executive". The Constitution of Belize. Attorney-General of Belize. Retrieved 2012-04-20.
- "Senators raise more questions about Attorney General". News 5 Belize. 2010-02-23. Retrieved 2012-04-20.
- "Former attorney general speaks about AG post". News 5 Belize. 2009-06-22. Retrieved 2012-04-20.
- "Sparks fly over lawyer's appointment as attorney general". News 5 Belize. 2010-02-19. Retrieved 2012-04-20.
- "Feisty Debate Over Seventh Amendment Bill". 7 News Belize. 2010-02-19. Retrieved 2012-04-20.
- Ramos, Adele (2010-02-26). "Belize Senate approves Caribbean Court of Justice". Amandala. Retrieved 2012-04-20.
- "Belize - Head of Government: The Hon Dean Oliver Barrow, Prime Minister". Commonwealth Secretariat. Retrieved 2012-04-12.
- "Attorney General holds legal summit". News 5 Belize. 1999-11-16. Retrieved 2012-07-30.
- "Prime Minister repositions Ministers". San Pedro Sun. 2004-01-15. Retrieved 2012-07-30.
- "B.Q. who no longer; AG Elrington resumes post". News 5 Belize. 2012-03-14. Retrieved 2012-04-20.