By Benjamin Flowers
The procedure for judicial review by the People’s United Party against the Elections and Boundaries Department has been delayed for about a month.
The petition is about the ruling of the Elections and Boundaries Chief Elections Officer to disqualify a number of persons who had signed a petition for the voter recall of Cayo representative Elvin Penner.
Two years ago the People’s United Party set out to collect signatures for the constitutional recall of the former Minister of Immigration for his role in a major passport scandal.
The petitioners met the required quota of 80 percent of the voters of Cayo South Electoral Division, but when the Elections and Boundaries Commission examined the names, it found duplications, names of persons who were not registered voters and other names which the Commission could not identify.
The case was scheduled for pre-trial on Monday, but the lead attorney for the PUP, Senator Lisa Shoman, was out of the country on parliamentary business.
Holding over from Shoman was Senior Counsel Michel Chebat. He explained that while the new pre-trial date has been set for later this month, a full hearing will not begin until sometime next year.
“We will have the pre-trial on November 25th and after that we are looking at setting a trial date based on the court’s calendar. We are looking at sometime in April next year,” Chebat said.
He added that the PUP is making efforts to ensure that the evidence and witnesses are prepared before going into a full trial.
In October 2013, PUP standard bearer for Cayo Northeast, Orlando Habet, initiated a recall campaign to gather 2003 signatures from the voters of Penner’s constituency.
Those signatures were submitted to the Governor General by November 2013 but the Elections and Boundaries Department disqualified a large number of the signatures, effectively disabling the recall effort.
In March this year the PUP took the matter to court and the court agreed that judicial review proceedings were in order.
While the matter remains in litigation, Elvin Penner continues to serve as the duly elected area representative for the Cayo East constituency, though he has been disowned by the ruling United Democratic Party government of Prime Minister Dean Barrow. ..