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Oct 16, 2013

Was Elvin Penner legally authorized to sign on Belizean birthright?

There is still debate on whether or not the Prime Minister had the legal authority to allow Elvin Penner, as a Minister of State, to sign nationality certificates and passports. The Opposition said on Tuesday that it is considering launching a legal challenge on this. But according to Prime Minister Dean Barrow, he had rocked his memory and found one instance when a former minister of state had put his signature on the official documents. Barrow referred to his tenure as Minister of Immigration when his minister of state, Sam Rhaburn, was allowed to sign on his behalf. Attorney Dickie Bradley who has done extensive constitutional research on this matter says not so. Bradley says that it is the Governor General on the advice of the prime minister, who assigns portfolios. He also cited section forty-one, subsection two of the constitution which states that it is the minister and not a minister of state who is ultimately responsible for the department or ministry he is assigned. And according to section forty-three, a temporary minister should be assigned to the Ministry of Immigration until an investigation is completed.


Dickie Bradley, Attorney

Dickie Bradley

“Where a minister has been charged with responsibility for any department of government, he shall exercise general direction and control over that department so that it is the minister who is constitutionally responsible for seeing that his department is being properly managed. And then William if I am not going too fast, we can then jump to section forty-three of the constitution of Belize, one of the best constitutions in the entire English, Commonwealth and Caribbean Countries. Whenever a minister—other than the P.M.—whenever a minister is absent from Belize or he is within Belize put he has leave from the G.G. not to be functioning or there is by reason of illness, so yoh sick, the Governor General may authorize some other minister, not minister of state. When the minister of immigration deh out of the country, when he is sick, when he has permission not to function because ah some reason weh ih can’t function, the governor general authorizes a minister, not a minister of state, not the minister of state in immigration. So he authorizes a minister to perform those functions or he could appoint somebody from the house or the senate to be a temporary minister.”


According to Bradley, for there to be a thorough investigation of his own ministry, Minister Hulse, should temporarily step aside. 

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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3 Responses for “Was Elvin Penner legally authorized to sign on Belizean birthright?”

  1. BelizeaninAsia says:

    About two years ago I downloaded a Belize Constitution to find out what our rights are as citizens. I had to do this because I was ignorant of the law. Why is it that in our secondary and tertiary institutions, Belize Constitution is not a part of our curriculum?? It should be. While studying in Asia, i had to take a class to learn the constitution of that country though I was a foreigner. It was not my choice I had to! Along with other history classes pertaining to that country. Why can’t we have this in Belize also??

  2. BelizeaninAsia says:

    Oooh it’s because if people do not know the laws of the land and their constitutional rights, they cannot easily detect and rise up against corruption and various forms of injustices. Of course!

  3. Nekko92 says:

    I agree with both comments. Belize Constitutional Rights should be part of our curriculum, so that we are not ignorant.

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