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Feb 28, 2014

ComPol Whylie appears before CJ for writ of mandamus hearing

The pressure to have the man who apparently masterminded the Won Hong Kim passport fraud criminally investigated and charged refuses to go away, despite government’s best efforts. And it is building rapidly. Wherever former Minister of State Elvin Penner was today, his ears must have been ringing. The P.U.P. requested and received permission this week to seek judicial review of Commissioner of Police Allen Whylie, whom they believe has deliberately abrogated his constitutional duty to investigate Penner. The full hearing for judicial review was held this morning, before a packed courtroom of political spectators, interested observers and attorneys. Mike Rudon was there and has the following story.

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Mike Rudon, Reporting

This morning a politically motivated crowd stood across the street today with placards and verbal punishment for former Minister of State Elvin Penner and government. Inside the courtroom Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin heard submissions from attorneys for the claimant, Francis Fonseca, and the respondent, Commissioner of Police Whylie.

 

Legal proceedings are generally incomprehensible to common folk, but arguments today were easy to follow and lasted less than two and a half hours. In a nutshell, the claimant states that ComPol Whylie should be instructed to criminally investigate Penner. They want him to also question the PM, the Minister of Immigration and the Director of Immigration. And finally, they want him to criminally charge Penner.

 

Whylie’s attorney, Deputy Solicitor-General Nigel Hawke, is arguing that the Court should not interfere with the duties of the Executive, in this case ComPol Whylie. Further, he states that a writ of mandamus is pertinent only when no action has been taken, and the Court is then used to force such action. That is not necessary here, says Hawke, because the Commissioner has acted. He has reviewed the matter and has determined that there is no need to investigate. And that’s it, in a neat little package.

 

At twelve thirty today all parties emerged from the courtroom as the CJ announced that he would deliver his judgment on Monday at eleven thirty. Claimant Francis Fonseca was one of the first out.

 

Francis Fonseca

Francis Fonseca, P.U.P. Leader

“What is very important and what is very clear from today’s proceedings is that the government of Belize….this U.D.P. government represented today by the Deputy Solicitor General and the Commissioner of Police made it clear that there will be no investigation into this matter as far as they are concerned. For the first time the Belizean people have heard, and it is only because we forced them to come to Court…for the first time the Commissioner of Police has said that he will not investigate this matter. He has made that determination, that decision. And we want to know on whose instructions he has made that decision. That is an important matter, because as you know, as the Belizean people saw on the evening news last evening, there was a leaked memo from the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions which revealed very clearly that there was an investigation started, and that investigation was halted on instructions.”

 

The memo Fonseca is referring to is this one – a bombshell which verifies that indeed the investigation into the real corruption in Immigration by the Police Department was halted. The investigator states that he actually found instances where persons received nationality certificates without proper qualifications – evidence of criminality for sure – but instead of dealing with those illegalities as the Police should, he was shockingly told to cease and desist from the investigation.

 

Francis Fonseca

“It is a very damning memorandum. It is very, very, very serious when the Director of Public Prosecutions who is charged with the responsibility for laying criminal charges in this country…when the Director of Public Prosecutions is asking the Belize Police Department to respond and say who instructed you to cease investigating this matter. The DPP is asking that. And in fact the DPP is saying where are the files…where are the files that I need if I am going to carry out an investigation provide me with the files from the Immigration Department. Don’t ask me just to look at a private individual…you say files went missing and you want me to look at that…give me the files that concern Mr. Penner and others. Where are the files in respect of Won Hong Kim? Where are those files? Those have not been submitted to the Director of Public Prosecutions.”

 

The Prime Minister has said that evidence of corruption by his ministers in Immigration could very well bring down the government. In one of those very rare occasions of accord, Fonseca agrees with him completely.

 

Francis Fonseca

“Everybody is united in this country in wanting an investigation into this matter. You’ve heard it over and over. The churches, the unions, the business community, everybody is demanding an investigation into this matter. And who is standing in the way? Who has come here to court today to defend Mr. Penner once again, to prevent even an investigation? We are not finding the guilt or innocence…we are not assuming guilt or innocence. We are simply asking on behalf of the country that the government or the state carry out its duty, that the Police department carry out its duty to investigate this matter. I am saying to the people of this country today – this is Pennergate, this is Pennergate. The cover-up is getting even worse than the initial crime, and I am saying to the people of this country, this matter will bring down Mr. Barrow’s government…it will bring down his government.”

 

That, of course, remains to be seen, since while corruption certainly has seemed to rear its ugly head, the Prime Minister seems unwilling to use the word. His word of choice is now ‘distasteful.’ Mike Rudon for News Five.

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9 Responses for “ComPol Whylie appears before CJ for writ of mandamus hearing”

  1. kunko joe says:

    Belizeans are stupid beyond belief.

  2. Rod says:

    How come we are only fighting for the white man penner to be investigated and not the black man Castro here we we go again with the prejudice Castro is a big thief why is he not being investigated he has been stealing money outright and even admitted it. Is it because he is black that he will get away scottfree all a unu non black people in Belize Betta remember all these things when it’s time to vote

  3. Lord LOL says:

    Don’t worry I believe elections will be announced. We may have the general elections any time now or up until the municipal elections next year in 2015.
    I say this because on local media stations, I see a lot of UDP conventions happening and being carried out in a fast manner and a lot of Anti-PUP political ads being broadcast. Also the government is spending big on infrastructure.
    The PUP is guaranteed to win. Now if only the PUP can do something about the corrupt persons in their party. EG: Luke Espat.

  4. CEO says:

    Protest like these should not be partisan because these acts are wrong regardless which political party the offender supports. One thing we have not learned yet as a country is to stand up against wrong, especially these types of blatant disregard for law and order.

  5. CEO says:

    The police in Belize are not law enforcement actually they are just another branch of government. There job is to enforce the law.

  6. Hatari says:

    It is a sad state of affairs when you have to take the ComPol to court to get him to do his job. How much lower can we sink into the pit of corruption. Sad for sure.

  7. Patriot says:

    I believe that when the COMPOL’s saviours and protege are no longer in power, the present COMPOL must be brought to trial and punished to the full extent of the law for the crime he is presently committing. This is to set a precedence for future COMPOL and the Law Enforcement Authority to uphold the Constitution (Is it the supreme law of Belize?) and to defend Belize and not members of a political party. It is also imperative that Belizeans unite to demand that the Judicial Branch of government be totally independent of the Cabinet. Power to the People.

  8. BelizeaninAsia says:

    Rod you should really think before you speak. At least SOME of the time. Some folks always seek an opportunity to vent their own hostilities even when it is totally irrelevant.

  9. Al Rich says:

    It is a sad state of affair when the law enforcement personnel fails to do his job just to keep his job. Only in Belize a person is fired for doing their job. Belize history will prove Barrow to be the worse leaser of this country.

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