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Apr 10, 2014

Court grants judicial review of the decision to reject signatures in recall petition

Lisa Shoman

While the political gods continue to throw a shroud of protection around former Minister of State Elvin Penner, the fates seem to be conspiring against him. Today, leave for judicial review was granted by Justice Courtney Abel in the recall petition of Penner. It’s only the first step, but it is a significant one. The applicants are seeking an order from the court directing Chief Elections Officer Josephine Tamai to review three hundred and thirty seven signatures. Those signatures were rejected by the Elections and Boundaries Department, causing the petition to fall short of the threshold. But the matter has now been resurrected. Following arguments from attorney for the applicants Lisa Shoman and Solicitor-General Nigel Hawke, Justice Abel granted leave…which means that the path is cleared for a full judicial review hearing.


Lisa Shoman, Attorney

“The Chief Elections Officer, depending on what the court decides, will be…we are fighting for the seventy-nine persons who signed twice, seventy-two who signed twice and four more who signed three times…the Chief Elections officer disallowed all of those people because of the double signature…we are saying that the law doesn’t say that is a penalty at all. So if we get those seventy-nine, and we get the fifty two whose signatures supposedly didn’t match the binders, and we get some of the fifty-two who they say were not registered, we will cross the threshold and there will be a recall referendum. Now winning that referendum is another matter, but we are confident that we will be able to get the reliefs needed to be able to cross the threshold, that the Governor General will have to trigger a recall referendum on Elvin Penner remaining as Area Representative. And I think with the present climate my client is very confident that we will cross that sixty-percent threshold. There has never been an official, detailed explanation for why each and every one of these people were disallowed, so that is the specific disclosure that I would be looking for. Although if I don’t get it I don’t think it will be fatal to the case because it will simply be assumed that she dealt with them as a group. One of the arguments we make is that the Chief Elections Officer nor anybody acting on her behalf ever went to any of these people and asked them why the signatures didn’t match, never went to any of these people and asked them why did you sign twice…because the law talks about wilfully signing.

Josephine Tamai

Now I know when she had a press conference on January eighth she very flippantly said if the law doesn’t disallow it she can do what she likes. No such thing! She has to follow the strict letter of the law, and under the strict letter of the law she can only charge those people who wilfully…and she is not allowed to determine that automatically…and what she’s done is to lump all these people automatically and say they’ve committed an offence, and she has never charged any of them for it.”


There were five applicants represented today, and Justice Abel struck out two in the interests of case management. Attorney Lisa Shoman says that does not affect her case in the slightest, since affidavits from the two will still be accepted at the Judicial Review hearing. Following the filing of applications and pre-trial session, that hearing is set for early July 2014.  

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3 Responses for “Court grants judicial review of the decision to reject signatures in recall petition”

  1. Ali Babarrow sez, screw Belize says:

    You got an unindicted Penner, you got Hulse running the fix, every minister is up to some scam.

    almost a year later, gee they screwed us.

  2. Rod says:

    Sue this corrupt gov. Lock them all up fu thief.

  3. CEO says:

    Good work!

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