Belize Commissioner of Police Allen Whylie, having failed to respond to the Monday deadline in a letter sent to him by attorney Edwin Flowers, S.C. on behalf of Hon. Francis Fonseca, the Leader of the Opposition, People’s United Party, will now have to answer in a Supreme Court judicial review.
On Wednesday, the PUP, through its legal advisor, attorney Anthony Sylvestre, filed for the judicial review at the Supreme Court Registry. The PUP hopes that the court sets an early date for the hearing.
The PUP Leader is seeking a writ of mandamus – for a Supreme Court judge to instruct Commissioner Whylie to investigate and bring criminal charges against the disgraced former Immigration Minister of State, Elvin Penner, for his role in the granting of Belize nationality to the imprisoned South Korean, Won Hong Kim.
The PUP’s letter to Whylie chronicles violations of the Belize Passport Act, the Belize Nationality Act and the Electronic Evidence Act, all of which Penner is said to be in violation of.
When Amandala contacted Commissioner Whylie on Monday, he acknowledged receiving the letter. But on that same day, attorney Flowers told Amandala that he has not gotten “even a phone call” from Whylie about his letter.
Flowers was instructed by the Leader of the Opposition to file for the judicial review, if Whylie did not answer in a week’s time.
“As everybody will appreciate, it’s a matter of urgency,” Sylvestre told reporters, after filing the court papers, adding that “the six-month limitation period will expire in early March.”
Amandala asked Sylvestre how easy or how difficult is it to prove that the Commissioner can or cannot act under the circumstances.
Sylvestre explained that the six-month limitation period of Penner’s action will expire early next month, so there is a matter of urgency, but certainly, that is the basis, or crux of the application, that there is some urgency and the inaction of the police and the commissioner is one which has caused a lot to be questioned, that there has been no timely response and request.
At a Monday press conference on citrus, Prime Minister Dean Barrow suggested that if the PUP were so confident of their case, they could have launched a private prosecution.
But Sylvestre said that to do that, they would have had to have first-hand knowledge and evidence of what Penner had done.
“I think the Prime Minister, as all of us are well aware, is indeed an extremely clever and intelligent individual, and I think what he has done is regrettable, because actually, it has murkied the water. As some may know, under our laws, the Summary Jurisdiction Procedure Act, there is a general right for any person to indeed make a complaint where a summary offense has been committed, but here’s the thing, a person can only make a complaint if that person has firsthand knowledge of it.”
Sylvestre added that only the Prime Minister, the Minister of Immigration and the Director of Immigration are in a position to do that right now.
“So it seems as though he himself also has firsthand knowledge of the issuance of the passport and the nationality certificate,” said Sylvestre.