With the resignation of Gaspar Vega from the Government’s Cabinet and with an ongoing investigation reportedly being carried out, there is somewhat of a déjà vu as the Penner passport scandal is remembered. Area Representative Kareem Musa spoke on the similarities and the need for an international investigator to be brought in to the Lands Department.
“This is actually worse than the Penner scenario because in that case against Elvin Penner it went all the way to the supreme court, against the wishes of this Prime Minister. If you look at the transcripts he kept trying to defend Penner saying that there is a difference between legal guilt and factual guilt but in that case the Supreme Court ordered the Commissioner to investigate, there was supposedly and investigation but yet this same commissioner of police who has not been removed from his job, who the Prime Minister is now the Minister of Police, the Prime Minister is now in charge of this commissioner who is disregarding an order of the supreme court no less and they want the rest of the population to be law abiding citizens yet they have no respect for the law. This Prime Minister and this Commissioner of Police have absolutely no regard for the law. There is no respect for an order of the high court in this nation and so that is a distinction because the Gappy Vega case has not gotten to the supreme court yet but no doubt the Belizeans have lost all confidence in this government because what they like to do is investigate themselves. You cannot investigate yourself in any situation and so like the Pastor Lou beheading perhaps this is another ideal case for an international investigator to be appointed because we cannot expect anything to come out of this, anything at all and I don’t see any charges being brought but there should be charges.”
“You said the Commissioner is disregarding? On what ruling was that?”
“The order of the Chief Justice in the Elvin Penner case was that he conclude his investigation and that he deliver up that file to the Director of Public prosecutions. Up to this day he has not turned over that file to the BPP.”
Love News spoke with the Director of Public Prosecutions, Cheryl Lyn Vidal who explained that the Chief Justice, Kenneth Benjamin only had it within his purview to demand that the Commissioner of Police, Allen Whylie investigate the matter but there was no directive for the findings to be forwarded to her. Vidal did note, however, that she had forwarded a list of requirements that were needed to be gathered by the investigators but since then she has not heard of the police’s investigation into the Penner incident. Musa went on to speak on what the police were to be investigating surrounding the Penner passport scandal.
Former Cabinet Minister, Elvin Penner was stripped of his portfolio in September 2013 following revelations of a fraudulently issued Belizean passport.