The process to recall Hon. Elvin Penner from his seat took a major step on Thursday morning. Key facilitators, working on the ground to collect signatures, along with the Ministers, representatives and other key motivators of the recall mechanism knocked on the door of the Governor General’s office this morning and duly delivered over 2,000 signatures. For the sake of narration we asked Mr. Orland Habet, PUP Standard Bearer for Cayo Northeast, to briefly relate to us the steps that the recall process has taken leading up to this very important milestone.
“Today, we call it DDA for the delivery of their signatures which are the accounting for the petition for the recall against Elvin Penner. We commenced the collection of signatures on the 3rd October and we did almost exactly a month of signature collection and after that we did the vetting of the signatures at our office committee. Subsequently, we delivered the signatures to the PUP Secretariat who also did their vetting and compiled all the information and we brought our committee who were instrumental in the organization of the petition and delivered to the Governor General some two thousand plus signatures”.
Having done their part, the PUP delegation must now wait while the Government does its part through the Elections an Boundaries Department. Legal adviser for the PUP Anthony Silvester explains the legal process that is to take place in the couple of months that will follow,
“The petition, having been submitted to the Governor General, will be sent to the Chief Elections Officer; in particular, that will be today. The law provides that within 30 days of receipt of the petition, the Chief Elections Officer must verify and they are to certify whether the petitions corresponded what they have in their that database. Upon receipt of the certification from the Chief Elections Officer, the Governor General will issue a writ of referendum to commence the recall of Elvin Penner”.
Mr. Anthony Sylvester: “We are very confident that the signatures will be verified as authentic and correspond with the respective voters who did in fact signed. So, all things being equal, we are looking at mid January”.
It must be noted that this mechanism to recall a political representative from his post is a relatively new system. It was set in place in the year 2010 by this current administration. However, processes as sensitive as a recall mechanism are apt to have very rigorous regulations, such that might even impede the process to be carried out completely.
PUP’s Deputy Party Leader Hon. Julius Espat believes that this mechanism is flawed. A threshold of 65 percent of registered voters in Cayo North East are required to vote in their favour at the referendum; a very taxing demand according to Espat.
“65% is not an easy task. With all the money in the world, the system is set up…general elections for example in Cayo south you had a little bit over 70% of the voting population. So, I believe that the government in place, put this law for it to fail, and we are testing it”.
Nevertheless, PUP Standard Bearer for Cayo Northeast, Olrando Habet, is confident enough that the turn out will be in their favour.
Mr. Orlando Habet: “At the referendum which will be held similarly to how an election is held, people will be able to express their sentiments and views and their feeling about what has transpired, and I am confident that we will be able to get that 65%. We have to realize that the scandal involving Mr. Penner is not the only thing that people have against this government right now. We have the issue of all the other anomalies that occurred, and recently in the news, we have heard other things that are occurring and every day, there is something new coming up. So, people are really annoyed at what is happening; they are really desperate and want to see a change and that change in governance can only come with a PUP government, because this government will not change the way they are doing things right now. So, I am confident that people will come out. 65% might be hard to achieve; in the last election we achieved 72% in Cayo Notheast and I am pretty certain that people will come out for the referendum”.
If the fruits do fall in the PUP’s side of the fence, then Cayo North East will undergo a bi-election around the month of April in which the infamous Penner will not be allowed to contest for the seat.