Another Application to File Petition Granted; Inevitable Prolonged Print E-mail
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Written by Administrator   
Thursday, 12 April 2012 00:00

The PUP have been filing applications for election petitions for the past 3 weeks now, and it’s safe to say that the Supreme Court judges, who have heard them all, have only allowed them on very slim grounds. The Tuesday petition is another prime example of a venture that is wasting the court’s time.

PUP’s Orlando “Landy” Habet has applied to the court for leave to bring an election appeal against Elvin Penner, the duly elected UDP Area Representative for the Cayo Northeast Division. He is represented by PUP Lawyers, Said Musa and Anthony Sylvester. According to Habet, Penner’s hard-won victory should be voided by the courts because the Returning Officer, Jose Castellanos, did not grant him a recount. He is convinced that because he lost by 17 votes, and there were 37 rejected votes, he possibly had enough votes in the rejected pile that could have given him enough to win.

The respondents, Elvin Penner and Jose Castellanos, are being represented by Senior Counsel Rodwell Williams. It is important to note that Habet brought a number of allegations which included bribery, treating, the naturalizations, and other unfounded claims that the court should consider as primary grounds for the Supreme Court to void the election. Habet says that the naturalization assistance that Penner gave to members of his constituency, who were in dire need of proper immigration status in Belize, is a form of bribery, for which he collected as votes at the March 7 General Elections. Attorney Rodwell Williams was able to convince Justice Minette Hafiz to throw all of those allegations out because the law is clear that if a party feels aggrieved by an alleged corrupt practice, they only have 28 days to bring that claim to court in the form of an election petition application.

The PUP also did another serious disservice, which is an affront to proper law practice, procedure, and etiquette. They actually went ahead and filed their election petition in this matter, which is something that they didn’t have leave for. In other words, they filed the election petition in court for which they did not have permission. Fortunately, with Rodwell Williams’ urging, Justice Hafiz struck that election petition out with all its affidavit evidence, and any claim connected to it.

After listening to both sides for about an hour and a half, Justice Hafiz granted leave for the election petition application on the grounds that the recount angle needs to be examined further. She also indicated to the court that the only reason she granted it is because she wants to hear Castellanos himself as he defends his action while counting and rejecting ballots on the night of March 7.
It is very interesting to see how far these election petitions are able to go in court before they are finally refused.