As part of that foot-dragging, notice has been served of the appeal of the decision of Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin on March 3. Not to mention the delays it would cause, the PUP’s legal advisor Anthony Sylvestre, suggests that the Government has no right of appeal in the case. He explains why.
“The difficulty and the problem with that is that the government has no right of appeal with respect to matters of this nature. Section XVI 4. A of the Court of Appeal is very clear which says that a party to a proceedings which has as its substance and its character of criminal nature cannot appeal, so that what the Government has done through the Solicitor General chambers, they are actually playing games with the Belizean public. It is important for us to keep stock of that because it will be recalled from the outset, they have tried to railroad both the democratic electoral process with respect to the recall mechanism efforts, and as well, they have tried to stall and railroad the efforts of all good Belizeans who want to see justice with respect to Elvin Penner”.
We are not sure how far the PUP would get with that, but they did have some success with Thursday’s hearing for leave to apply for judicial review of the decision of Chief Elections Officer Josephine Tamai to reject 337 petitioners from Cayo Northeast who want a first-ever recall referendum to remove Penner.
Orlando Habet says the Government can no longer keep shielding Penner from the wrath of the people.
“Some may feel that we have made small steps. We believe that we have made leaks and giant strides, especially when the entire nation is keeping watch with vigilance and great expectation. Therefore, we are not letting down our people in Cayo Northeast, we are not letting down our people in Cayo, and the entire nation is watching and they are hopeful because they also have the expectations that this will move on and go forward. I want to conclude that the Barrow administration has an ominous cloud hovering over them, and this task of the UDP government’s constant wrongdoings, and because the UDP and the Prime Minister have become enigmatic, confused, titillating and that is by choice”.
The PUP says it can wait a little longer. But how long? Not long, says leader Francis Fonseca, before they go back to the Chief Justice.
“We have on one hand saying that he has completed the investigation. The reports we are getting from the Director of Public Prosecutions is that that has not been satisfactorily done. We certainly, as I have consistently said, it is not our desire to find the Commissioner in contempt. That is an option that would only exercise as a last resort. We certainly that that does not have to happen. But if sufficient period of time elapses and it is clear to all concerned that there has been no advance on this issue, the we will certainly have to consider based on our lawyer’s advice whether or not we should go back to the Chief Justice to say, ‘sir, you have given a directive, you have given an order, and in our view, that order has not been effectively complied with'”.