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May 11, 2017

Penner Says He Sponsored Nobody for “Asian Visas”

Witnesses from the Immigration Department who have testified at the public hearings have spoken of ‘sponsors’ for Asian visas. People would ask these persons to write on their behalf to the Department for a ‘super-recommendation’ often on grounds of investment in Belize. There are examples provided in the Audit Report. Earlier, former Minister of State Elvin Penner told the Committee that sponsors were granted their wish of visas as long as the requirements were met. Later, when confronted with the appendix list of persons who got visas with no sponsor, he specifically denied acting as a sponsor.


Mark Lizarraga, Senator, Business Community

“Is it possible that you in a way were sponsoring or inviting them?”


Elvin Penner, Former Minister of State, Immigration and Nationality

“No, I was never the sponsor of any Asian visa.”


Mark Lizarraga

“Mr. Penner, a short while ago and I wrote this down, after Senator Courtenay was questioning, you said, “in a way, I was sponsoring and inviting them…” That’s the inference that you made.”


Elvin Penner

“I don’t recall saying that I was sponsoring or inviting them.”


Mark Lizarraga

“You will have an opportunity to see the recorded testimony but that’s what you said. And I was wondering if in this instance, when you requested – these specific applicants, when you requested visas for these applicants, there was no sponsor seen, rightly so – but there was indication that the application was supported by Minister Penner. Are these examples of what you were referring to when you said that in a way you were sponsoring or inviting them?”


Elvin Penner

“No. If I have made any statement where I have indicated that I have been the sponsor or the invitee of any of these Asian visas, then I would like to change that statement, because that is indeed not so. In this case, I believe that the Auditor General just did not find any note or the documents of the sponsor. But I can tell you that I have not ever been the sponsor or the invitee of any Asian person to visit this country as far as I am concerned; as far as I can recall.”


Penner is expected to return next week Wednesday. He told reporters after the hearing that he would not comment to the press for now.

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1 Response for “Penner Says He Sponsored Nobody for “Asian Visas””

  1. mr.sampler says:

    I think his assets should be freezed including all his business shares where he works at the zinc factory until his inquiry is fully checked. According to source close to him even the hummer he rides was part of a gift from the Asian so why has the senate not taken note of it. Mein we can’t let this happen like that so easy. If this would be a regular civilian he/she might be in jail.

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