The issue of Elvin Penner, the former Minister of State with responsibility for Immigration and the passport scandal continues to makes headlines tonight and all indications are that it wont go away anytime soon especially since no one, including Penner, who was merely dismissed from cabinet for his involvement, has not been criminally charged.
As you may recall, a few days ago news broke out that the Area Representative for Cayo North East was terminated for his involvement in the issuance of a Belizean Passport to South Korean National Kim Wong Hong who is under investigation by Interpol.
Truth of the fact is that Wong Hong was detained in early August and the Belizean Passport was issued in early September while he was in detention in Taiwan.
Documents from the Immigration and Nationality Department, namely the nationality certificate and the recommender declaration for Kim Wong Hong, of the Republic of Korea, both hold Penner’s signature, and one declares that he is a personal friend of Wong Hong.
The documents bear the stamp of the Belize Immigration and Nationality Service and the signature of Elvin Penner as Minister. But while some may say that the transaction stinks to high heaven, only three immigration officials have felt the wrath of Government as they have been suspended from their duties. They are Sharon Neal; head of the Passport Division and Omar Phillips and Erwin Robinson both data entry clerks.
And as Belizeans anxiously await Governments next move pertaining to this latest scandal, the Leader of the Opposition Honorable Francis Fonseca has called for Penner’s resignation. In a letter written to Penner and dated October 2nd 2013, Fonseca is advising him to resign or be recalled.
In the letter, Fonseca states and we quote “I am authorized by the National Executive of the People’s United Party to advise you that if you fail to resign as the member for Cayo North East by 5:00pm, Monday October 7th, 2013, the People’s United Party along with the electors of that division, will initiate your recall as the divisional representative for the Cayo North East Electoral Division in accordance with the Recall of Elected Representatives Act, Number 20 of 2010.” End of quote.
The letter also makes known that the PUP has carried out extensive consultations in every community in the Cayo North East Division over the past ten days. Based on these consultations the party believes that Penner has lost the trust and confidence of the people and therefore is asking for his resignation and if he fail’s to do so will (peruse) his recall. Now a recall is in no way good news for the present government who escaped defeat by the skin of their teeth back in 2012 when they won the General Elections.
A recall paves the way for a bi-election which can change things inside the House of Representatives if voters of Cayo Southeast elect a PUP Area Representative which in this case will more than likely be Orlando Habet who lost the General Elections back in 2012 to Penner by a mere 17 votes. As the rest of the nation we will wait for October 7th to see if Penner will resign or if the recall will be triggered by the Opposition.
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