Minister of State Elvin Penner forced to resign from Cabinet

vlcsnap-2013-09-20-07h20m06s16Former Minister of Public Utilities, Information and Broadcasting and Minister of State for Immigration and Border Protection Elvin Penner has tendered his resignation to Prime Minister Dean Barrow in a sudden and shocking overnight development. A terse press release issued today from the P.M.’s office states that the Mennonite representative for Cayo Northeast, after discussions with the Prime Minister, on Wednesday evening tendered his resignation. The release states that in the Prime Minister’s view, “With respect to a situation brought to his attention on Tuesday, Hon. Penner, as Minister of State in the Immigration Ministry, did not discharge his responsibilities with either the due judgment and balance, or the scrupulous regard for appearances, which the Prime Minister demands of all his Ministers.” As for what caused Mr Penner to resign, the statement makes reference to an investigation to be launched by the Ministry of Immigration chaired by Senator Godwin Hulse and the Ministry of the Public Service chaired by Charles Gibson into “the circumstances surrounding the issue of a Belize passport to a South Korean national.” The Immigration Ministry, it said, will make a statement in the next day or so as to the results of that investigation. PLUS News has been following the story since yesterday and has learned that the South Korean is in fact a prisoner, jailed in Taiwan and was scheduled to be deported to Thailand. Our information indicates that Elvin Penner was approached to facilitate a deal to give this individual a Belizean passport that would allow him to come here instead. Before the deal could be completed, we are told, the International Criminal Police Organization – INTERPOL – stepped in and blew the whistle. The Prime Minister called both Minister Hulse and State Minister Penner for an emergency meeting yesterday which resulted in Penner’s resignation. The deal is said to have involved public officers which is why the Ministry of the Public Service is now involved. Prime Minister Dean Barrow was contacted by our colleagues at Channel 7 News but declined an interview, stating only via text message that the matter was dealt with by him under his authority as head of the Cabinet.

About the Author