[caption id="attachment_11258" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="Cheryl Krusen "][/caption]
Belize City, December 7, 2011
Cheryl Krusen was appointed Solicitor General of Belize two months ago. Shortly after her appointment, Hubert Elrington, during on a television show, asked: “where did she come from?” That question has still not been answered.
Most Belizeans do not know Cheryl Krusen. She is from Jamaica but she has a Belize connection. She was once married to Dylan Barrow and lived in Belize many years ago. She was a teacher and a magistrate and a mother and a wife. She did not last long in the classroom. Her time on the bench was a model of mediocrity. The marriage ended and she left the Jewel. When she departed from Belize, no one seemed to have missed her at all.
Rumors have it that she held a middle management post in the Commonwealth Secretariat in London. She also had a short and unremarkable stint as legal counsel at the CARICOM Secretariat. Again she distinguished herself by being consistent – mediocre. When she announced that she was leaving, no effort was made by the Secretary General to get her to change her mind. Other legal counsel at CARICOM who preceded her include Duke Pollard a former judge of the CCJ, Dr. Kenny Anthony renowned law professor and former prime minister, and Dr. Winston Anderson law professor and now a CCJ Judge. She was nothing like those luminaries.
Since her return to Belize, Cheryl Krusen was in the vanguard of Barrow’s Ninth Amendment crusade, insisting that Belizeans swallow wholesale her interpretations of our Constitution and berating other Attorneys for “not telling the truth”. She has been positioned as the legal face of the Barrow administration whose expertise should be trusted by all in our nation because of her 30 years of legal practice and experience. In tragicomic fact, new Solicitor General has been the subject of much derision in the legal fraternity as attorneys smirk when they hear her spouting legal nonsense, and obsolete law in defense of the Ninth Amendment. But it is perhaps not surprising at all because in truth, Ms. Krusen has never appeared in any court to argue any constitutional case. The running joke among attorneys some weeks ago was how many times she said to the CCJ judges that she was confused while the case was being heard!
But all this means naught in Barrow’s Belize. Ms. Krusen was then appointed a Senior Counsel. Now this is an amazing feat, when in order to be even considered for appointment as senior counsel in Belize, one must have distinguished oneself in the practice of law. How did Ms. Krusen manage to accomplish this weighty task in less than two months? She has never tried a case in court in Belize. When she has come to court, mostly for adjournments and simple applications, she brings her entourage of at least three lawyers from the AG’s Ministry; needing help even where an attorney of one year standing would argue that no such help is needed. So how, then did she manage get appointed senior counsel?
But the how of her appointment is only half the story. The word is that when her appointment was discussed in the General Legal Council of the Bar, attorneys voted against her appointment on the ground that nothing was known of her practice since she had only been appointed for about two months, and our law requires at least eight years standing at the Bar before an attorney even qualifies for consideration. But that did not stop the process – the AG voted for elevation and seemingly, his vote alone was enough for the then Acting Chief Justice.
When confronted with the law saying that she did not qualify, the AG did not blink. He had gone to court, some weeks ago to move her call and managed to get her admission to the bar backdated to the long time ago when she was a magistrate in Belize. This has been done even though Ms. Krusen was never a law officer to whom such courtesy is normally extended. This has been done even though it is blatantly, patently wrong and unlawful. But that does not stop them.
So, Cheryl Barrow Krusen who knows that she does not legally qualify knows she does not merit the appointment, knows the Bar voted against her appointment, forged ahead, heedlessly and still accepted the appointment as senior counsel. No honest, self-respecting, law-abiding junior attorney in her position would have accepted such an appointment. That she did do so, earning her the disapprobation of the bar among whom she now practices, speaks volumes.
The Bar Association has met and has now passed, on November 30, 2011, a unanimous resolution seeking judicial review of Ms. Krusen’s elevation to Senior Counsel on the ground of its irregularity, and some argue, illegality. It remains to be seen how the Attorney General, as “titular Head of the Bar”, will respond to such a move, or the ensuing suit. Embarrassing even for a Barrowed!