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Sep 26, 2014

Hulse speaks on the Penner Fiasco

The private prosecution lead by COLA of the former minister of state, Elvin Penner was thrown out earlier this year following the lack of evidence to convict the ousted Cayo Northeast area rep. The three officers that were suspended from the nationality and immigration departments have since been reinstated to their posts and the scandal within the ministry incredibly seems to have become water under the bridge. The last time we spoke to Minister of Immigration, Godwin Hulse, he told the media that he personally brought the Belizean passport illegally issued to Korean national, Won Hong Kim, last September, back to the country following a trip to Taiwan; he has since handed over the passport to the Police. But today, the media asked the minister the purpose of doing so since no one is likely to be held accountable for the selling of our Belizean birthright.

 

Godwin Hulse, Minister of Immigration

Godwin Hulse

“The public officers; that was the ministry’s internal investigations, we took them before the Public Service Commission and the Public Service Commission reinstated. That is a decision based on their determination after reviewing what evidence was presented. I do not agree. I’d say that categorically, I do not agree, but this is our structure and this is our system. With respect to the private prosecution, again, that is a process that goes through law and the courts do what the courts do. The executive is unable to comment or criticize because that is the evidence that was produced. With respect to the passport, I brought it back; the D.P.P. as I understand it from the Commissioner, wanted the original passport so that she can continue her review of the file, which the police I think has presented to her. So we handed it over to the police; hopefully they will hand it to her…that is Miss Cheryl-Lynn Vidal, if she is still the D.P.P.—there is an acting right now. And then hopefully she reviews the file and determines what else will happen. That is completely out of our control. We have done what we were supposed to do in that regard.”

 

Reporter

“Has the department heads answered al l the questions from the police department and the audit team in relation to that investigation?”

 

Godwin Hulse

“I would hope they have. I can’t say if they have, but I would hope so. I mean the audit was free to do what they do; we don’t interfere at all. The police was free to do what they do; we don’t interfere at all. The only statement I continued to make and continue to make is that whatever comments were made by police or audit or anybody, there is a protocol and that protocol involves a C.E.O. in the Ministry, who is the chief administrator. So if there is anybody—whether it is a HOD or anybody—didn’t cooperate, then you write the C.E.O.  If the C.E.O. didn’t respond, then you write me. And I can tell you when I first got a note from the auditor general, we responded in the day. So that is the protocol. So officers will do what they do and do not give information and all of that. But that is why there is a protocol that goes to the top. When you don’t get action, you go to the top. Now if somebody at the top says that we are stalling or we are not going to give information or not; that’s a different matter. But as far as we know, that never happened.”

 

The ministry is currently in the process of creating a nationality committee.

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