Penner back at Senate; hecklers make mischief

By Benjamin Flowers

Staff Reporter

Hecklers caused a temporary suspension of the Senate Inquiry this week, as former Minister of State Elvin Penner made his second appearance to testify.

United Democratic Party Chairman, Alberto August, Mace Bearer of the National Assembly Brian “Yellow Man” Audinett and Allan Kelly, among others, repeatedly disrupted the proceedings by loudly heckling Senator Eamon Courtenay as he questioned Penner.

After their repeated outbursts, Committee Chairman Aldo Salazar, asked the police to remove one of the men. They all left of their own accord, but returned shortly afterwards. Their interruptions became so disruptive  that Salazar suspended the inquiry, in order to return order to the proceedings.

Salazar added that he spoke with the men outside during the suspension, and urged  them to respect the business of the Senate. He maintains that he tried to manage the situation as best he could, given that the National Assembly was understaffed with police officers that day.

Apart from speaking to the hecklers during the temporary suspension, Salazar took no punitive measures against any of the men who disrupted the inquiry.

Meanwhile Penner, as he had done last week, came to the hearing with a series of prepared defenses, justifying why he would refrain from answering any questions that he felt uncomfortable answering.

“I am indeed indicating that the Constitution does afford me to not say anything,” Penner told the Committee.

Salazar refuted his claims, citing varying sections of Penner’s own defenses to make that point that he was calling upon protections not applicable to his particular situation. Salazar also challenged Penner to cite the relevant section of the Constitution that afforded him that protection, but Penner could not recall the section.

Penner also could not r answer  a series of questions put  to him, regarding several incidents of fraud and suspected fraud within the Immigration and Nationality Department, along with many of the public officers who mentioned  him in their testimony.

Penner did however recall that he, at one point, had Wong Hon Kim’s file, and that he had signed it.


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