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Nov 25, 2013

Penner and Castro made it in the “Economist”

Belize’s former Minister of State Elvin Penner and current Minister of State Edmond Castro have made it onto the pages of one of the world’s leading news journals, the Economist. The Economist is a weekly magazine of news and opinions which is regarded as one of the most eminent of its kind. It provides coverage of international and political developments and general news from around the world.  On November twenty-third, the Economist published an article titled ‘Passports to Ignominy.’ It’s a piece which features the Bouterses – president of Suriname Desi Bouterse and his son Dino, who is in a New York jail on charges of passport fraud and aiding terrorists. Dino Bouterse allegedly provided Suriname passports to two U.S. undercover agents posing as Mexican drug dealers. Since the article is titled Passports to Ignominy, or dishonor, it’s probably no surprise that mention is then made of former U.D.P. Minister of State Elvin Penner. Penner, who has gone so far under the radar as to be virtually invisible, has been publicly and politically humiliated by his role in Belize’s ongoing immigration scandal. The article in the Economist segues from Bouterse to Penner, stating, (Quote) “All this has caused scarcely a ripple in Suriname, whose foreign minister says he expects no upset to relations with the United States. Reactions to similar shenanigans in Belize have been louder. There Elvin Penner, a junior immigration minister, was sacked in September over a passport issued to Kim Won-Hong, a South Korean then in a Taiwanese prison while resisting extradition to his own country for fraud. Mister Penner personally signed his passport picture and application form.” (Unquote) Penner shares literary infamy with his political colleague Castro, who is facing accusations that he facilitated visas for Chinese nationals for the small fee of two thousand dollars each. The Economist states that, (Quote) “Since then, Belize has buzzed with reports of passport and visa fraud. Another junior minister, Edmond Castro, is under pressure over alleged visa fraud. If both lose their parliamentary seats in possible recall votes, the government would lose its majority.” (Unquote) It is important at this point to note that while Penner’s picture has been hung on the U.D.P. Wall of Shame, he seems to have miraculously escaped all criminal scrutiny for his role in the wholesale of passports and nationality documents. In Castro’s case, Prime Minister Dean Barrow has personally defended him, stating, (Quote) “the Minister of Immigration and I checked the files to see if there was any time at which any two hundred visas were issued and there is absolutely no record whatsoever of that.” (Unquote)

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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10 Responses for “Penner and Castro made it in the “Economist””

  1. Joe Blank says:

    It was only a matter of time. Beyond the corruption of UDP, this puts Belizeans in the spotlight world wide. We run the risk of being scrutinized and humiliated world wide. All we have to do is look at what Jamaicans experience throughout the Caribbean. It is imperative that we restore honesty and integrity in the system. Failure to do so will make us a pariah nation. Civil Society must follow through and see that these criminals are brought to justice. There is too much at stake. It is a major disgrace for a country with a Parliamentary System of Government to have deviated from it’s core principles such a shameful way.

  2. beano for Belize says:

    “he expects no upset to relations with the United States”

    sounds like the US does not care about fraudulent passports.
    So the prez and his son must have done something else to piss off the US.

    Let’s send Castro and Penner to the US to sell Belizean passports.
    More could be sold and bigger xmas bonuses for all the corruption officers.

  3. beano for Belize says:

    Their mommas must be proud, and they even got their names spelled correctly.

    They should get reprints to show their friends they made it to the big stage.

  4. FAIR JUSTICE says:

    Penner and castro should be in New York jail as well. Selling if passports is a huge.crime.

  5. Al Rich says:

    How could the PM say that there were no passports sold to Chinese, how many plane loads of Chinese have landed in Belize and then mysteriously vanished into the night. Belize people forget very quickly the bad things that happens in the country. Wake up stop drinking the PM’s cool aid, make him fess up on the poison that exists in his cabinet.

    I want my country back to what it was when I was growing up in it. Belize was a beautiful place, we know who the criminals were and justice was swift and honest. Parents were parents no matter how poor, they disciplined the children. Rally for a changes so we can progress and prosper. Crime will always be a part of society, but we can do something to reduce it.

  6. Proud 2b Belizean says:

    All you PUP’s are making all this fuss and noise because this time its not you profiting from the sale of passports. Please, just be patient and maybe next election you will be reelected and then you can continue the sale of passports even in a bigger scale like you used to. You will need to fix up your party though, like getting rid of some of that scum that’s in your party now and maybe, just maybe you will have a chance at getting reelected.

  7. Proud 2b Belizean says:

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m sick and tired of all this corruption in the UDP government but I’m equally as sick of the opposition playing these innocent angels when in retrospect they are just as corrupt as the UDP if not worse. We need good Man and Women to stand up and form a new Party that will run our Country with integrity and respect of the law, not people who think they are above the law. I’m not sure If that is possible because we Belizeans can’t stand to see anybody getting ahead in life without tearing them down.

  8. ceo says:

    Dam crooks and lier!

  9. mans says:

    The sale of passport is not a big deal in other countries… but for Belize its has been happening ever since. I do not support a Member of parliament to do it. I would sympathize if agencies around Belizean population do it. Just as the contraband… it happen all around the world… big business but not a politician… I can’t support it… I am been supporting the UDP but shocks mien no more… I am tired of these nonsense..

  10. Moses says:

    I want to send a personal thank you to Ministers Penner and Castro for the their generpous giffs of a turkey and ham just in time for Thanksgiving. I look forward to the future generous gifts for Christmas, including restocking of my herd of cows in Crooked Tree, the rebuilding of many homes that have been damaged by flooding, and all the provisions you have supplied to us in rural Belize. Thank you. I hope you get many more dollars from the stupid foreigners who are willing to pay for visas intransit to the hell holes of the USA. Right on!!

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