Politics — 29 October 2013 — by Adele Ramos

Orlando “Landy” Habet, the member of the Opposition People’s United Party (PUP) who has been leading the charge to gather signatures for a petition to recall Cayo North East area representative Elvin Penner, told Amandala today that they plan to push until Sunday, November 3, 2013, to gather signatures of constituents—to ensure that they are well above the 30% threshold required to trigger the vote.

According to Habet, who ran against Penner in 2012 but lost by 17 votes, the division has 5,800 registered voters, and they have managed to obtain the signatures of over 1,800 of them for the recall petition.

Habet said that although they have already pushed beyond the minimum number of required signatures, they will work over the weekend to gather even more signatures.

Next, they will review the petition for accuracy before submitting it to Governor-General Sir Colville Young with a request for the recall vote.

Habet said that the vote would take place no more than 4 months from submission, if all goes as planned.

“We will take some time to make certain that everything is in order before we submit it,” he told us.

He said that the recall could happen early next year, unless Penner resigns first. In the event that a recall vote is held, a 65% voter turnout is required to validate it. However, if Penner resigns, a simple majority would carry the vote in a by-election.

Habet said that he intends to make another bid for the Cayo North East seat, and he has been endorsed by Opposition PUP Leader Francis Fonseca.

This week, the Belize Unity Alliance (BUA), which includes entities such as Vision Inspired by the People and the People’s National Party, indicated to us that they plan on putting up a candidate for the Cayo North East seat.

Whereas Penner is in trouble because of allegations of corruption in passport and visa sale and issuance, the BUA has noted that the Opposition has also been involved in the sale of Belizean patrimony.

Habet dismissed the BUA as a factor in the Cayo North East, saying that, “I don’t believe that the third party has much influence.” He said that he has seen third party and independent candidates run before and most come below the 200 mark.

We said: “That might swing a vote?”

“Probably,” Habet conceded.

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