A pair of press releases from Citizens Organized for Liberty through Action (COLA) lambasted Ministers Godwin Hulse and Wilfred Elrington for separate statements made on Wednesday. COLA, which is leading the private prosecution of ex-Minister of State Elvin Penner, believes the Minister of Immigration contradicted himself when he said that he has seen the cover letter and file taken out by Mr Penner from the Department last September, but denies being sent the file. However, according to COLA’s press release on Thursday, “according to page 26, paragraph 3 of the Auditor General’s Report dated March 19, 2014, ‘the file containing said letter is said to be with the Director who in turn indicated it was with Minister Hulse.’ ” COLA asked, “How could Minister Hulse have seen the letter when according to him it was never sent to him? If it is, as he says, that ‘we don’t have the Minister Penner file cause we cannot say if they were returned or not returned,’ then why has he not reported the matter to Police as a case of theft of Government property? Tell us, Mr. Hulse! If Penner is the last person to have taken the files, then why has there been no effort made to obtain a warrant to search his house or those of his intimates for evidence of the stolen files? Belizeans are used to police ransacking our residences on the slightest of pretexts. Why should Penner be treated any differently?” They call on the Minister to put pressure on the Commissioner to intensify their investigation while remaining committed to pursuing justice against Elvin Penner. On Thursday, we caught up with Minister Hulse who responded to Cola’s claims that the preliminary report also said that Ady Pacheco did not object to certain actions Elvin Penner did in the Immigration because of fear. On Thursday the Minister responded to this claim.
“I am here to tell you that everybody in immigration knew, from the Director down, categorically, because I’ve it over and over that if anybody came to them with anything that was untoward, that could have been the Prime Minister, that could have been my mother, who is now dead, or my father, brother, or sister, call me. It is incredible that Miss Pacheco, if she said that, would have said that, when she knew that she enjoyed the confidence of the director, myself, and the CEO. So there is no way that anybody in that Department can say that anybody intimidated them and they acted. They knew that I had made that statement time and time and time again, and it’s a statement I intended to stand by, and not even the Prime Minister could have gone there and encouraged them to do something that was wrong, and they called me and it would have been supported.”