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Mar 4, 2014

Attorney speaks on writ of mandamus

On Monday, People’s United Party leader Francis Fonseca won a significant victory in the court of Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin. With commendable dispatch, the CJ issued a directive to Commissioner of Police Allen Whylie to commence, to its conclusion, a criminal investigation into the Won Hong Kim passport scandal and former Minister of State Elvin Penner. The remarkable ruling in Supreme Court comes after a sustained six-month long public outcry, demanding the criminal prosecution of Elvin Penner. Evidence has confirmed the former Minister of State’s role in the passport scandal, and has pointed to a much greater role in widespread immigration corruption. Still, Penner has been enjoying the absolute protection of the political powers that be. But now he will, or should, face some criminal scrutiny, though there are serious time constraints. Mike Rudon has been following the journey of Mandamus and has an update.

 

Mike Rudon, Reporting

There is some sense of victory and vindication following the decision by Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin on Monday. There have been cries and condemnation from every sector for the criminal investigation of Elvin Penner. Well, every sector except that occupied by his colleagues in political power. But the charges for which Penner could face criminal action are summary offences, with a statute of limitation of six months. Attorney Audrey Matura Shepherd has been following the case for Mandamus and broke it down for us.

 

Audrey Matura-Shepherd

Audrey Matura-Shepherd, Attorney

“It’s not just a symbolic victory. Remember there are two statutes of limitation that have been affected…one that ended yesterday on the third of March and the other that will end on the ninth of March – two of them. So the one yesterday, maybe that was a loss in that if you did not press charges by that date, then you cannot press charges again. And the one for the ninth of March, you cannot let that lapse because you will never be able to press charges. I do believe that between Monday and the ninth of March there is sufficient time to conduct an investigation and bring enough evidence on which to base a charge. Remember the Police can always start your investigation…have enough on which to arrest and charge and continue the investigation to shore up and build up that case, so I don’t think that one is lost. To begin with, we should have never reached the point where we had to go and beg the court, and plead to the court to please tell this officer, this high ranking official, to do his job. People have to understand the magnitude of this matter. No matter how the investigation ends up it is a victory for the democracy of this country, where a court was bold enough to make that decision.”

 

Matura-Shepherd says the Police should have been conducting an investigation before now, and the fact that they haven’t is cause for concern about how determined they are to get to the bottom of the passport and immigration corruption.

 

Allen Whylie

Audrey Matura-Shepherd

“I believe that at this point there was enough on which to base a charge, but that didn’t happen, and to me that shows bad faith. And the only worry then, if that was your act knowing that there was a limitation that was going to lapse, I am wondering as we speak, how diligently is the Police force working to bring about sufficient evidence to prefer a charge against Mr. Penner by the ninth of March. Now that is where we need to question how things will be done.”

 

There has been one immediate and notable casualty in this matter, if not substantively, then definitely in the court of public perception. Commissioner of Police Allen Whylie is a twenty-seven year veteran of the force, but he has gotten a black eye for what seems to be deliberate reticence in carrying out a serious investigation. Very likely he did so at the behest of higher political powers, but he has been the man under fire so far.

 

Elvin Penner

Audrey Matura-Shepherd

“I went in court and I was listening to the arguments and I looked over and I saw the Commissioner of Police sitting there alone…alone. And all I could think about is that he is a professional. I know him and I have always held him in high esteem and expected a certain form of conduct from him as an attorney having interacted with him. I know that he is very much aware of the law, and he has always acted, in my personal opinion, in a very professional manner. So it amazed me that he would then allow anyone to undermine his power and to give in to that kind of pressure and I would hope that he would speak openly as to what has really happened.  I won’t preempt their action other than to say that if they fail…that combined with the indictment against the Commissioner of Police…the next move has to be that the nation calls for his resignation and removal, because you have compromised yourself and office. The judge said clearly that you acted unlawfully, irrationally and unreasonably…and I think that would be basis to remove the Commissioner of Police.”

 

If there is an order of the court and there is evidence that the order was disobeyed, then that, according to Matura, would amount to nothing less than a serious contempt of court. Mike Rudon for News Five.

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5 Responses for “Attorney speaks on writ of mandamus”

  1. Ali BaBarrow, ring leader says:

    the barn door left open and the building burnt down.

    At least the fire department showed up to lock the gate before all the documents are burned, need some to run a government.

  2. Elgin Martinez says:

    That is what happen when you’re a political appointee.You’ve got to play by Barrow rules.

  3. Lord LOL says:

    When the PUP get into power, they will return the favour and say all the foolishness the UDP had done while in office.

  4. My Belize again says:

    whilst am happy that an investigation was demanded and is being done, i must say that i am so disgusted at the fact that the court needs to rule a mandamus on compol Whylie, he deserves that i must say… but think about this if you will… he is politically appointed – why is this?, Is he telling us something? i think so… the whole police department operates under a chain of command, so with that said, is that why alot of criminals whether politicians and major criminals get to walk scott free.. wake up commissioner, regardless you are appointed, no minister can penalize you for doing the right thing, NO ONE IS ABOVE THE LAW not even you… shame on you sir…. i think the department needs to revisit the way people are promoted in higher rank, i think it should be voted on by the ranks and not because you are the minister’s puppet boy…. change the way things work.

  5. Concern says:

    I quarrel not with far off foes, but with men like Whylie who cooperate with and do the bidding of a corrupt government. He is serving the state not as a man mainly, but like a robot, with his body. There is no free exercise whatever of judgment or moral sense, but he has placed himself on the level of wood, and stones, and a wooden man can perhaps be manufactured that could serve the same purpose as well. Such men command no more respect than men of straw or a lump of dirt. They have the same sort of worth only as horses that are used to drag a cart. A man should only be useful as a man, and will not submit to be a rubber stamp, but leave that office to his dust at least. Is this the best you can do?

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