Political aspirant Orlando “Landy” Habet has been handed a lifeline to join the House of Representatives with the effort to recall the man who defeated him in the last general election, Elvin Penner. Orlando Habet lost by 17 votes in 2012 but with Mr Penner’s immigration troubles the effort to remove him is fast gaining steam. On Friday we caught up with Orlando Habet who gave us an update on the first stage of the mechanism; the gathering of signatures to support recall. He says he has support from across the political spectrum despite the prospect of no real power in the House – at least, not as much as his would-be predecessor.
Orlando Habet – PUP Caretaker, Cayo Northeast
“We have party faithful and we have people from the same Government side (UDP) who see me as a better leader. I think that they will anticipate that this Government will not last very long, that they will go out before their term. So whatever assistance, even if it is moral support that we can provide for them I think they will be satisfied that they do not have people in government who do not look after them. [With reference to signatures,] up to Sunday we had passed the 1,000 mark. I think up to yesterday we had already passed close to the 1,300 mark and so we are not too far away from achieving the 1,800 signatures that we actually need.”
Orlando Habet says the majority of the signatures are coming from within the villages and that PUP has not set a timeline. Meanwhile the effort continues, with work ongoing on both reconciliation of signatures and efforts to get new ones. And according to Mr Habet, the UDP’s determined effort to thwart the process by sending out senior party officials to plead to keep Elvin Penner sends a strong message as to their intentions with the recall mechanism.
“What people are concerned about is that if the Government of Mr Barrow formulated and passed this legislation to give the citizens of this country an opportunity to have a recall of an elected representative, why is it now when the citizens are utilizing that advantage that has been given to them through this legislation, why is it that the Government in force comes out to do an anti campaign against the very legislation that they passed.”
At least 1,735 validated signatures – approximately 30 percent of the Cayo Northeast electorate – is needed to trigger a referendum on Elvin Penner’s status, with a by-election to follow if he is recalled.