Letters — 16 May 2014 — by Geovannie Brackett

May 14, 2014

Hon. Dean Barrow, Prime Minister of Belize
Office of the Prime Minister

Dear Sir,

As you may be aware, on the 28th of February, 2014, COLA instituted a private prosecution against former Minister of State responsible for Immigration and Nationality, Elvin Penner, for two offences under the Passports Act and the Belizean Nationality Act respectively.

We proceeded with this action as recommended by you on the 17th of February, 2014, after action was taken out against the Commissioner of Police for a writ of mandamus to execute his functions as the Senior Officer in charge of our Police Department to investigate the actions of Elvin Penner.

Since then, the Supreme Court has issued the writ of mandamus against the Commissioner of Police, and despite repeated requests utilizing the Freedom of Information Act (as suggested by you) to obtain the investigative file, the Commissioner and the Auditor General have utterly refused to comply with our requests. Meanwhile, the DPP has been unable to provide the information requested due to certain circumstances.

On the 28th of March, 2014, the Auditor General, in response to our request for materials and evidence gathered by her office in the course of an independent investigation, denied our request and instead stated that she has submitted a “preliminary report” to your office.

Additionally, as the records will reflect, on the 15th of October, 2013, you publicly stated at a press conference that, “More evidence has surfaced of the involvement of Elvin Penner in other instances of what to us is impropriety. The material presented to Cabinet was and is enough for us to feel that Elvin Penner was involved in additional instances of what I will term ‘irregularities.’” (“Historic First: PM Calls On Penner To Resign And Face Recall,” Channel 7 News, 15 October, 2013.)

In light of the foregoing, we hereby humbly request of you, Mr. Prime Minister, that you provide us with the following materials and evidence under the Freedom of Information Act:

(1) The preliminary report provided by the Auditor General on the 21st of March, 2014;

(2) the scanned documents produced to you by Minister Hulse and referred to at your press conference held on the 15th of October, 2013; and finally

(3), any and all other materials and evidence provided to you by any of the authorities that have been carrying out an investigation into the wrongdoings by your former Minister of State, Elvin Penner.

As you are also aware, the laws of Belize provide for the summoning of witnesses to provide materials relevant to a trial at the summary level. We are hopeful that we will not have to exercise this option on the 29th of May, 2014, when the court reconvenes for disclosure of evidence to the Defendant, Elvin Penner.

We thank you for your kind and urgent attention herein and patiently await your response.

(Signed) Geovannie Brackett
President, COLA

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