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Oct 1, 2013

Despite his dismissal from cabinet, Elvin Penner is getting his perks

It has been twelve days since we first broke the story on the issuance of a Belize passport to a South Korean national who had never set foot in Belize and who obtained a passport while he was sitting in a Taiwanese jail. Cayo Representative Elvin Penner was dismissed from cabinet for his involvement. Last Friday, he wrote us an email saying that he had been duped because the picture of Kim Wonhong for whom he signed an application form is not the person that has been detained in Taiwan. And from what we know, both pictures in the passport application form and the nationality documents are the same, but the picture of Kim Wonhong in the South Korean passport is not the same. Now, even as Penner has been booted from Cabinet he still continues to enjoy the perks of office as News Five’s Isani Cayetano found out.


Isani Cayetano, Reporting

Amid the existing immigration scandal which has resulted in the dismissal of former Minister of State Elvin Penner from cabinet, as well as a formal investigation into the issuance of a Belizean passport to an imprisoned South Korean businessman, are the parliamentary perks that the disgraced politician will continue to receive.  These additional benefits, including the assignment of a government vehicle, a monthly telephone allowance and other stipends, come with being an elected official.  Despite his termination as the Minister of State in the Ministry of Immigration for his role in the unlawful facilitation of the nationality process, Penner maintains his chairmanship of the Public Utilities and Transport Committee, as well as his membership of the Ombudsman’s Report Committee.  The removal sees a substantial reduction in annual income; however, his incentives, as an area representative, remain complete.


In his former capacity, Penner earned an annual income of sixty-nine thousand, four hundred dollars, the equivalent of five thousand, seven hundred and eighty-three dollars monthly.  That yearly earning does not include expense allowances.  Penner’s subsequent demotion will now see his monthly salary assigned under the legislative budget which oversees the wages of area representatives without ministerial portfolios.  That annual sum has since been reduced to thirty-seven thousand, eight hundred dollar, or three thousand, one hundred and fifty dollars monthly.  That’s a difference in monthly earnings of two thousand, six hundred and thirty-three dollars.  Again, that is outside of his annual expense allowance of six thousand, eight hundred and twenty-three dollars.  It is also notwithstanding a monthly stipend of one thousand dollars for chairing the aforesaid committee and the six hundred dollars in telephone allowance.  All in all, Penner, having been relinquished of his post as Minister of State, takes home a monthly paycheck of four thousand, seven hundred and sixty-eight dollars and fifty-eight cents, as well as a fully-fueled government assigned vehicle.


The measures taken against Penner appear to be a mere slap on the wrist. There is no word as yet whether his purported accomplice, Deputy Mayor Eric Chang, will be made to face a similar demotion and what those financial implications may be.  The question nonetheless, in lieu of a criminal investigation, is whether or not the punishment fits the crime.

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10 Responses for “Despite his dismissal from cabinet, Elvin Penner is getting his perks”

  1. Love says:

    Mose Hyde, “Is it possible for you to put me on hold sir that you can try to ascertain who is the best person for you to transfer me to sir?” Ssssssssssss..hoot, hoot, hoot …They hang up on you! lol

    Should this man be costing US $4,768.00, plus UNLIMITED GAS, and a brand new GOVERNMENT VEHICLE? THIS COULD ADD UP TO FROM 7 TO 8 THOUSAND dollars a month. “We say NO!” The man done collect under the table in advance, and it is sickening to hear the PM address him as Honorable! After he use the word Honorable followed by the name Penner, then we can use Honorable on all the prisoners in Hattieville! lol PM…d man cheapen the word HONORABLE!

  2. Concern says:

    Dismissal is dismissal. It should be from everything! He knew what he was getting into, we pay him well, BUT FOR HIS GREED, he doesn’t deserve a copper more!

  3. erectus maximus says:

    I have no issue with the demotion of this individual. What I have a problem with is all the other ministers who are caught in their sometimes weekly scandals not being disciplined in any sort of way. Seems kind of unfair to spank one spoiled child and let the others keep feeding at the taxpayer trough. Shame!

  4. Al says:

    I was wondering what would be the scapegoat “story” they would have concocted, and it came up a beauty. Its not what we know, its what we can prove. So says the PM. So shred and burn up the official document and you’re scott free. Don’t steal a bag of peanuts, though, if you’re hungry. Thats frown upon and carries a 5 year sentence.

  5. Rufus says:

    What a crying shame. Are we that dumb that they can pull this crap over our eyes? Oh well, it is working.

  6. Al says:

    Please help me to understand how someone can be fired from one government position for gross thievery and action that can be termed treason and continue to hold another government position.

    This is rewarding a man for misuse of his position for personal gain, fire the man totally.
    What a poor decision maker this PM is. How can this be, in Belize only the poor are seen to be criminals, any criminal action by government officials is okay and endorsed by this PM.

    When is America going to sanction this country, I hope soon.

  7. Concern says:

    Obviously many people is walking around with passports that Penner and other gave to them for $$$$$$$$$ . Hulse said, Penner always take around the files, (which he is not suppose to do), but this would indicate that this time is not the only time that this kind of thing had happen. The passport photograph, the nationality photograph and the Korean Photograph, are all the same. Lol Imagine we took Kim Wonhong photograph in April for Nationality document. Then we took his photograph at Immigration Department with a High-Tec camera, where we are not allowed to touch the photograph. Then they took his picture in Korea for his passport…and….WOW…all the picture LOOK THE SAME! Same pose, same shirt, same jacket, same tie, same pin, same hairdo, same position of the head and same position of the shadows under the neck. Isn’t that a miracle, cause if we went to Immigration and they took our picture twice, our pose would have changed! ONLY KIM WONHONG CAN strike the SAME POSE ALWAYS, AND remember to bring the same clothes always and hairstyle….lol We are so STUPID, because we believe this is possible without a doubt, because THE PM SAY SO, PENNER SAY SO AND HULSE SAY SO!!! LOL

    PM…YOU know we have to investigate this MIRACLE?

  8. Guerra says:

    Taiwanese reported that Kim Wonhong Belizean passport dated 9/9/2013 was delivered to him in prison by a Belizean DIPLOMAT. We know three men departed Belize 9/9/2013, Castro, Chang and Bradley. Bradley is a Mayor of Belize City, Castro is a Minister of Government, and Chang is Deputy Mayor Belize City. Are all these men DIPLOMATS, or if not, can someone shed light on which one of them is a DIPLOMAT? Only relatives and Diplomats are allowed to visit prisoners in Taiwan!

  9. James says:

    If he can forge a passport for a man in jail so far away, that he never met; imagine what he did during the quick nationalization before elections. Hmmmmm

  10. Hatari says:

    What is good for the goose is good for the gander! If you are going to punish one, punish all. Which of course will never happen because it seems that the people will never wake up and hold these crooks accountable. Just a bunch of sheep . . . Baaa, Baaaa!

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