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Feb 19, 2014

P.U.P. files writ of mandamus against ComPol Whylie

The People’s United Party believes that by his own admission in an email to the media, Elvin Penner committed an illegal and criminal act in the passport issued to South Korean fugitive, Won Hong Kim back in September 2013. But Penner has not been investigated, so late this afternoon; the P.U.P. filed a writ of mandamus in the Supreme Court asking the court to command the Commissioner of Police, Allen Whylie, to commence an investigation. News Five’s Isani Cayetano reports.

 

Isani Cayetano, Reporting

A writ of mandamus, a judicial remedy in the form of an order from the Supreme Court, was filed by the People’s United Party today, in an eleventh-hour effort to initiate a criminal investigation into the Penner Passport Scandal.  While it has been a little over five months since the fiasco, involving the unlawful issuance of a Belizean travel document to South Korean businessman Wong Hong Kim, came to light, there has been no action taken by the police department to look into the matter.  So, the P.U.P., through legal advisor Anthony Sylvester, is seeking judicial review proceedings against Commissioner Allen Whylie.

 

Anthony Sylvester

Anthony Sylvester, Legal Advisor, P.U.P.

“A letter was sent out on February tenth to the commissioner requiring him to take certain steps with respect to the criminal investigation regarding the issuance and procuring of the passport and Belizean nationality of the now infamous South Korean citizen Kim.  There’s been no response to that letter and so, as a consequence, we are forced to actually take this course of action and actually initiate judicial review proceedings against the commissioner.”

 

The move succeeds a recent position taken by Director of Public Prosecution Cheryl-Lynn Vidal that there appears to be sufficient evidence to launch an investigation against former Minister of State Elvin Penner.

 

Cheryl-Lynn Vidal

Cheryl-Lynn Vidal, Director of Public Prosecutions [File: February 11th, 2014]

“I think that there is sufficient to warrant an investigation. I cannot say at the end of the day what is going to be available to us, and what charges could possibly be brought based on what is made available to us. But at the very least, from what has been said publicly, there needs to be some sort of investigation. And we can’t say at the outset that no criminal charges can be laid if there’s no investigation. How would we be able to make a reasoned decision as to whether charges can be laid if there is no investigation being done?”

 

The opposition party anticipates that the upper court will deal with the matter expeditiously since the six-month window, or statute of limitations during which legal action can be taken against Penner is fast approaching.

 

Anthony Sylvester

“As everybody will appreciate, it’s a matter of urgency in, you know, the commissioner, and indeed the police department, acting.  The six-month limitation period will expire in early March, so there’s a matter of urgency and certainly we don’t to be, because the matter has been filed, we don’t want to actually prejudge it.  But certainly that is the basis or that is the crux of the application that there is some urgency and the action of the police and the commissioner is one which has caused a lot to be questioned.”

 

Dean Barrow

On Monday, P.M. Barrow, in speaking with the media, stated that the application for a writ of mandamus is simply showboating on the part of the P.U.P.

 

Prime Minister Dean Barrow [File: February 17th, 2014]

“I don’t think so. And I think furthermore proof positive that this is political grandstanding is had when you refer to the fact that the P.U.P., the Opposition, is able to mount a private prosecution. If they feel so strongly that there is evidence to justify a prosecution, lodge a private prosecution. That’s perfectly in order, it’s their entitlement. The D.P.P. could, if that is done, intervene if she thinks that it is without merit, but that is most unlikely given the comments that I hear attributed to the D.P.P. So why don’t they just proceed with a private prosecution.”

 

Sylvester has taken the opportunity to respond to that comment.

 

Anthony Sylvester

“The Summary Jurisdiction Procedure Act, there is a general right for any person to indeed make a complaint where a summary offense has been committed but here’s the thing, a person can only make a complaint if that person has firsthand knowledge of it.  So that, for instance, if it were a situation where all of us, indeed all of us had access to the Immigration Department’s files and we could go in and we could view for ourselves the files, the nationality certificate files, the passport files, then certainly we would be in a position to be able to file a complaint and be able to marshal evidence in a court of law.  But as it is right now the only persons who are in a position to do that would be the Minister of Immigration, the Director of Immigration and the Prime Minister himself has made certain pronouncements.  So it seems as though he himself also has firsthand knowledge of the issuance of the passport and the nationality certificate.”

 

Reporting for News Five, I am Isani Cayetano.

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3 Responses for “P.U.P. files writ of mandamus against ComPol Whylie”

  1. Ali BaBarrow and his band of 40+ says:

    They would do better organizing a national strike.

    Like this govt obeys the courts?
    Only if the judges are corrupt like them, part of the 40, the untouchable 40.

  2. BelizeaninAsia says:

    Hear ye, hear ye! Belizeans you better march! There is absolutely no way this Prime Minister or Godwin Hulse (or any of their minions) going to testify in court against Penner. I wish I had some doubts about this but I don’t. These ‘so-called’ leaders turn demi-gods are leading this nation deeper into distress. Belizeans, what are you waiting for?

  3. hard woking Belizean says:

    Totally agree with “Ali Babarrow”…… what Penner did is HIGH TREASON to our jewel Belize and us the Belizean people! They jump at the sight of the $$$ signs yet when us poor common Belizeans go to the immigration offices to apply for our passports, which is our birth right, we are treated like sh&*!!! Get up, stand up for your/our rights!

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