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Nov 4, 2016

A woman without identity: Vital Statistics accused of dragging feet on alleged scam

Imagine a born Belizean being told that she could not access her birth certificate because someone else may have her identity. Then, imagine that an investigation has been underway for over a year, and nobody said anything. This is how twenty-nine year old Jazmine Lino of Progresso village, Corozal District, feels after visiting the office of the Vital Statistics Unit in Belize City on Thursday. Apparently, the Unit, a division of the Attorney General’s Ministry which had recently been under fire for its granting of a birth certificate to William “Danny” Mason based on his claims of Belizean parentage from Crooked Tree, has been investigating the sale of identities of Belizeans to Mexican persons. Lino visited News Five this afternoon to tell her story, but asked not to appear on camera due to business concerns. She shares her stunned reaction to what she learned.

 

Jazmine Lino, Denied Birth Certificate

“I walk up and I give up my receipt. So they tell me, “ma’am, take a seat,” so I take a seat. Anyways, I si down deh almost gwein fi two hours di wait, when dehn call up me and dehn tell me, “You know what is true, dis dah di situation: you cahn have wah birth paper because your vital statistics noh exist yah. Dat da weh dehn tell me.”

 

Reporter

“And of course, you queried what happened, right?”

 

Jazmine Lino

“Yes. And I tell them, I said, “How the hell that noh wah exist deh, because I cohn ya more than one time and I reapply fi my birth paper when I lose it.” I tell them, I seh I da wahn born Belizean. That’s what I tell them; so dehn tell me, “well, you know what, we no di give out no birth paper to anyone that lives in Progresso dehn say, because sohn Doctor Garcia deh under investigation for a year now; and because a dat dehn can’t give out any birth certificate to anybody born eighty-seven and upwards, from Progresso.”

 

Reporter

“Now, is this the first time you’ve heard this person’s name?”

 

Jazmine Lino

“Yes, the first time. When I hear dah person name I shock. I literally stand up there like, I know weh fi say. All I wah seh dat I wahn get back my vital statistics, because my Social Security says it all. I dah no wah bloody Mexican, cause da di Mexican – she seh or dehn tell me ina the Vital Statistics dat dah di doctor tek it fi the Mexicans; ih mi di give it to them.”

 

Reporter

“So right now somebody in Mexico has your identity?”

 

Jazmine Lino:

“Exactly my point.”

 

Lino successfully applied for her two children’s certificates while at the Unit’s office. We called the Vital Statistics Unit’s offices this afternoon and were informed by the Supervisor that no one came to speak to her, as is normal whenever there is any issue with a birth certificate. The front desk staff claims no knowledge of any conversation with Lino or the information she claims she was told about. The office is reviewing its records and reserves further comment until then.

 

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Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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