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Very satisfied attorney Lisa Shoman and Orlando Habet as they exited court this morning, Host of Vibes Radio’s Morning Buzz, Albert Vaughan in background.

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Thurs. April 10, 2014

The once thought to be moribund recall petition lodged by Orlando Habet, PUP standard bearer in the Cayo Northeast division and four others has gotten new life today in the Supreme Court of Belize.

On Thursday morning Justice Courtenay Abel of the Supreme granted leave for Judicial Review of the Chief Elections Officer’s decision to reject over 300 signatures from the petition to recall disgraced former Immigration minister, Elvin Penner. Having made that decison, the Chief Elections Officer, then notified the Governor General that there were not enough signatures for the referendum recall to be held. That should have done away with that – however It didn’t sit well with the Opposition PUP. They articulated their disapproval and rejection of the Cheif Elections officer’s decision in a press conference held the party’s headquarters on Thursday, January 9th, 2014.

The application for Judicial Review was filed on Monday, March 31st.
“I am filing the application on behalf of Orlando Habet and 4 other applicants for judicial review of the decision by the chief elections officer to reject 337 signatures and therefore report to the Governor General that there were not enough signatures for the referendum recall to be held. At this stage what we are asking for is application for leave for judicial review, so this is the leave stage. It’s the first step towards getting judicial review,” Lisa Shoman, attorney for Orlando Habet and four others told the media that day.

Five persons, Orlando Habet, Sierra Moro, George Manzanero, Ursulo Guerra, Carla Smith originally joined to file the matter however this morning two names were struck from the application for better case management purposes, a source told NBZLive. The names removed were, Ursulo Guerra and Carla Smith.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014 has been tentatively set as the date for the review. Attorney, Nigel Hawke appeared for the Chief Elections officer, Mrs. Josephine Tamai while Lisa Shoman appeared for Orlando Habet and the two others. Although Hawke didn’t object to retaining Moro and Manzanero as interested parties, he argued for Habet and the two others to be struck off, even though he admitted that Habet may have the strongest levels of interest in the matter – go figure!

In rendering his decision this morning, Justice Abel said that Orlando Habet has utmost interest as the PUP standard bearer in Cayo Northeast constituency.

This puts another spanner in the ruling UDP’s efforts to dead the effort to bring Elvin Penner to Justice. On Thursday, March 27th, Penner was arraigned on two criminal charges for his role in the passport scam which touched off a scandal that still threatens to topple the Barrow administration. He was granted granted bail of BZD$2000.00 for each charge and is to return to court in Belmopan on May 29, 2014.