Embattled Cayo Northeast area representative Elvin Penner could be facing recall by voters in his division as of next week, as according to latest reports he will refuse the offer by Leader of the Opposition Francis Fonseca to voluntarily resign his post by Monday. The matter is up for discussion at tomorrow’s National Party Council meeting in Belize City and on Friday, Prime Minister Dean Barrow said the party will support Elvin Penner’s initiative to keep his seat.
Prime Minister Dean Barrow
“I will say straight off that of course we are going to oppose the recall. We believe that Hon. Penner did wrong, has been punished…we certainly don’t feel that he ought to be left on his own with respect to the recall exercise that the P. U. P. has said that it will not”.
The Prime Minister drew a line between the actions he took to dismiss Mr Penner from the Cabinet and any recall initiated by the Opposition. But why continue to support Elvin Penner electorally, apart from the 17-14 razor thin margin that would be in jeopardy if he is recalled? The Prime Minister says its all about second chances.
Prime Minister Dean Barrow
“This is a country of second chances. History shows to that so little well. When you start to talk about Immigration, you talk about what happened involving Said Musa, you talk about Max Samuels as Immigration Minister having had his visa stripped by the United States of America. Nothing having been done to him by his Prime Minister, and he’s running after that in an election and winning.
Reporter: “Very comfortable!”
Prime Minister: “You talk about the fact that in the last administration, certain things happened, I had to act; with respect to Hon. Castro, he contested the next elections and soundly trunks a certain Arthur Saldivar. Do I need to offer any additional evidence in support of my point that this is a country of second chances? Penner deserves that second chance if he will do what I believe he must, which is to go house to house in his constituency, explain to them, why, what happened, happened, and apologize to them for any difficulty that he has caused them in his representation in terms of all that has happened”.
The bottomline is that at Saturday’s meeting, Barrow as UDP leader will recommend supporting Penner in his fight to avoid recall. He also confirmed that Penner is dealing with a health condition brought on by his stresses over the events of the past weeks.
Prime Minister Dean Barrow: “I don’t think he will resign”.
Reporter: “No, but he’s in hospital”.
Prime Minister Dean Barrow: “He’s in the hospital. I went to visit him yesterday. I hope that he would have gotten out by now. He did appear to be very much under pressure, which is not surprising. He told me that it’s a matter of hypertension and as well, blinding headaches; no doubts brought down in part by the circumstances, although it seems that he’s been having difficulties with hypertension for a while. I certainly did not get the sense then, and, of course he and I met on Wednesday after noon, he expressly said that no, he did not feel that it is the wish of his constituents that he resign, and so, he would not resign!