Former Minister of State Elvin Penner has until Monday October 7th to resign as Area Representative for Cayo Northeast or face a recall. This is an ultimatum that the Leader of the Opposition, Honorable Francis Fonseca, penned in a letter sent to Penner on October 2nd.
The road to a recall though, will not be that easy because the Government of the day will come out in full swing to defend Penner’s seat.
Honourable Dean Barrow- Prime Minister of Belize
“I am talking to you about the here and now and the fact of this recall mechanism and I am saying that in terms of the recall exercise yes. The party will rally around Elvin Penner. We believe that he deserves a second chance. We believe that we ought to help him persuade his constituents not to recall him. If the constituents decide otherwise, so be it."
Now bear in mind that back in 2012 Penner won his seat to Orlando Habet by a mere 17 votes. This means that a recall could see another PUP representative at the House of Representatives. Or, even a Vision Inspired by the People Representative.
According VIP’s Chairperson Hubert Enriquez, the party is presently interviewing potential candidates to run for office if a bi-election is held. They support the recall because Penner’s actions warrant’s just that.
Hubert Enriquez- Chairperson VIP
“We feel that the honourable thing for him to do is to resign and if he does not resign we certainly support the recall from office. The VIP at the moment is preparing itself in that event and so we are looking for candidates to run in that area and we are also encouraging women to rise up because we have actually approved the policy in which we fell that there is the need for more women in Parliament. We are going to do everything necessary to have Penner be recalled if he does not resign in a short order.”
In a previous release the VIP also demanded that the Police Department conduct an investigation into the issuance of a Belizean Passport to South Korean National Kim Wong Hong who was detained in a cell in Taiwan at the time the passport was released in September. As we previously mentioned, Penner is directly involved in the scandal since the nationality certificate and the recommender declaration for Kim Wong Hong, both hold his signature, and one declares that he is a personal friend of Wong Hong. But while the VIP believes that Penner should face criminal charges, today Barrow defied the sentiments of hundred of Belizeans as he once again stated that there will be no criminal investigation into the matter.
“If there are material misrepresentations - it's involving a passport, it's not a water bill. There are material misrepresentations about his agency in concocting a passport on the same day by his attestation for an individual who was incarcerated in another country. Isn't that significant enough - I won't get into criminal."
Prime Minister Dean Barrow
“It's significant enough for him to be fired and so he has been. I am not going to get into as I said any argument with you about the narrative. You are telling me things that may well be so, but that I don't agree or disagree with. I have what was put before me in the early days. What was put before me without getting into the details was quite sufficient for me to act. I am saying it stops there in so far as the immediate road ahead involving the recall exercise is concern. Whether you agree or not, whether you like it or not, I am telling you I believe he deserves a chance to explain to his constituents."
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