Court holds PUP vs Police Commissioner Mandamus Hearing

Today was hearing day for the People’s United Party (PUP) as it sought to force Police Commissioner Allen Whylie to investigate former Minister of State Elvin Penner for alleged violations of the Passport and Nationality Acts. The Commissioner has ignored a request by letter from the PUP to proceed ahead of the statute of limitations expiring in March and today it was more of the same as he gave the media the brush-off leaving court.

vlcsnap-2014-02-28-20h40m23s186Reporter:  “Commissioner, can we get a word with you, sir, quickly?

Commissioner Allen Whiley:  “I have no comments, men”.

Reporter:  “Why have you decided to not investigate…?

Reporter:  “Why haven’t you investigated… on criminal charges…sir?  Why haven’t you responded, sir?

Commissioner Allen Whiley:  “I don tel yu”.

And a fired up Leader of the Opposition Francis Fonseca, flanked by party executives and leadership and supporters, said it has been pretty much confirmed that there will be no investigation. What he says he still wants to know, is why?

vlcsnap-2014-02-28-20h48m23s122Hon. Francis Fonseca- Leader of the Opposition

“What is important and what is very clear from today’s proceedings is that the government of Belize (this UDP government represented today by the Deputy Solicitor General and the Commissioner of Police, made it clear that there will be no investigation into this matter as far as they are concerned.  For the first time, the Commissioner of Police has said that he will not investigate this matter.  He has made that determination; that decision, and we want to know on whose instructions he has made that decision.  That is an important matter because as know and as you saw on the Belizean news last evening, there was a lit memo from the office of the Director of the Public Prosecutions, which revealed very clearly, that in fact, there was an investigation started, but that investigation was halted on instructions, and the Belizean people need to know and deserves to know on whose instructions that investigation was halted”.

Fonseca says the PUP is doing this for all the people of Belize and he warns that continued intransigence on the part of the ruling UDP will mean their downfall.

Hon. Francis Fonseca:  “I am saying to the people of this country today, this is Penner gate.  The cover-up is even getting up even worse than the initial crime and I am saying to the people of this country, this matter will bring down Mr. Barrow’s government.  He refuses to investigate.  We have to conclude that the only reason why he is refusing to investigate this matter is because he knows that there are many others in his government involved in this matter.  The Belizean people, deserves answers to these questions.  That is why, the People‘s United Party has taken this step of coming to court; it’s not something we decided on lightly.  We have coe to court to force an investigation into this matter; to force the Commissioner of Police to act.  The Commissioner of Police will decide whether he will follow the instructions of the political bosses or whether he will act in the benefit and the best interest of the people of this country as he is sworn to do.  That is what we expect him to do”.  

vlcsnap-2014-02-28-17h37m04s87Mr. Fonseca also commented on the leaked memo from the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions which queried the status of the Police’s investigation. He says it paints a damning picture.

“I did not hear what he had to say today, but obviously it is a very damning memorandum.  It is very, very, very serious when the Director of Public Prosecutions who is charged with responsibility  for laying criminal charges in this country;when the Director of Public prosecutions is asking the Belize Police Department to respond and say, who instructed you to cease investigating this matter and in fact the DPP is saying that and in fact the DPP is saying where is the file that I need if I ma going to carry out an investigation, provide me with the files from the Immigration Department.  Don’t ask me about a private, you say files  went missing and you want me to look at that.  Give me the files that concern Mr. Penner and others.  Where are the files in respect of this Wong Hong Kim.  Those have not been submitted to the Director of Public Prosecutions”. 

Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin will rule on the matter on Monday at 11:30 a.m.

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