By Alexis R. Milan Staff Reporter
Former Minister of State in the Immigration Department, Elvin Penner made his first appearance in the House of Representatives since the immigration scandal involving Won Hong Kim broke last September.
At Wednesday’s House sitting, Penner sat quietly in the far left corner of the United Democratic Party (UDP) back bench. Prior to this, he had missed the three last House meetings. He did not speak at the sitting and he left in his Government fuelled SUV before the meeting was adjourned, dodging the media once again.
Prime Minister Dean Barrow defended the UDP’s position on Penner by saying, “Penner has been fired. There is no question in my mind as to Penner’s guilt, as to the wrong that he did, and that’s why he has been fired. It doesn’t help to crucify Penner all over again. He is politically dead. He has been fired as a minister.”
Barrow then explained that as chairman of a House Committee, Penner is allowed to remain in possession of a government vehicle. Barrow told the media that if Penner ceased to be a chairman, the vehicle would be taken away. Barrow also explained that for that to happen they would have to convene the Committee of Selection and decide to do it. Barrow also stated that as the majority, they could get it done if they wanted, but the process has not yet been triggered.
Penner also still receives approximately $7,000 a month as area representative for Cayo Northeast, even though his office remains closed since the Immigration scandal.
Last September, Penner was implicated in providing a passport to South Korean fugitive, Won Hong Kim, who at the time was in a Taiwanese prison. Penner facilitated the processing of Kim’s request and was fired as Minister of State when the details of his involvement were exposed.