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Oct 2, 2013

P.U.P. senator asks for support for a passport scandal investigation

Lisa Shoman

The opposition has already said that it will be triggering a recall if Elvin Penner does not resign by October seventh. In the senate today, Lisa Shoman of the P.U.P. introduced a motion on the passport scandal asking for support for an investigation. According to Shoman, the issue of such national importance that she believes support from the social partners will be forthcoming.

 

Lisa Shoman, P.U.P. Senator

“Here’s the thing Jules, it is usually as you know the government that brings motions; there is provisions for private members to bring motions…meaning members who are not of the government. What I am doing is to give the government a fair opportunity for them to invoke the senate powers and call for the senate to exercise its functions by investigating and inquiring into the circumstances having to do with the nationality and the passport of citizen Kim. And if the government will not do that; then it will be incumbent on me and the opposition to do so. One of the things that is important to note is that this is not a partisan issue and that is the reason why I have framed it in the way that I have framed it. All Belizeans agree that this is something important; that this is what citizens want to see happen. Yesterday one of your colleagues in the media famously made a stand and called around for police stations to investigate. I think that is a proper response for the media. I think the media has the right to ask those questions. And where I am concerned and where the opposition is concerned, the opposition has the responsibility where the senate has powers, to investigate this; to call on the government either to initiate or if it would not, then we intend to bring a motion before this honorable senate to ask for such an investigation and an inquiry.”

 

Reporter

“Well apparently your call fell on deaf ears.”

 

Lisa Shoman

“I don’t know that he said no. He said that he welcomes any investigation and I will hold him to that. I heard the honorable senator to say that it is the proper function of any body which is properly constituted to do its work. I heard that very clearly. And among those he said the police, the D.P.P. and even the senate. So I will wait. I will ask my colleague whether in fact he intends to do this and if he does not, by a motion before the next senate meeting, we are going to put it before the house to be debated and discussed. And I will tell you more… I believe that I will get the support from the social sector senators as well.”

 

Reporter

“How many do you need?”

 

Lisa Shoman

“Well I would like to get the support from all of them.”

 

Reporter

“Yes but I am saying that we just saw in the house that the government controls the majority…”

 

Lisa Shoman

“You know it is interesting that if we had a senator from the N.G.O. community, we would not have had a deadlock broken by the president today. I will call for a division inside because the nation of Belize needs to know which senators will not allow the senate to exercise its powers and responsibilities in relation to this matter Jules, because it is important.”

 

Reporter

“Senator, I apologize, I want to entertain on one more thing, but if Mister Hulse comes out, we will have to abandon it so I don’t want to be rude. Senator, you spoke in there about the punitive; what you believe are the punitive measures included in the N.G.O. bill. Explain to me how you expressed in there how ill-thought out, how punitive it appears.”

 

Lisa Shoman

“Here’s the thing Jules; there is no other entity that I know of—and I stand to be corrected if I am wrong—that is subject to a fine of at least…in other words, this law puts into place not only greatly inflated fines.  In other words, the court could fine a person up to an amount of a hundred thousand dollars or an N.G.O. of up to three hundred thousand dollars. And if that was not bad enough, the punitive part of it is that a court hands are tied in that you have to fine a person who is found guilty fifty thousand dollars even if it is a mistake that they made.”

 

We’ll have more on the ongoing passport scandal in Thursday’s newscast.

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