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Dec 7, 2016

Will Immigration Go After Beneficiaries of Visas, Passports and Nationality?

Among the many irregularities found in the Immigration Audit Report’s three volumes is the curious process by which persons who had never set foot on Belizean shores were able to obtain visas, Belizean nationality and passports, in that order, bypassing many of the procedures in place with little more than the sponsorship of local benefactors, including at least one Minister of Government. In their testimony to the Special Committee, Dorothy Bradley and Carla Faber walked members through the process and noted that the most clear-cut cases are, as of the time of the report, under review by Immigration Minister Godwin Hulse himself.

 

Carla Faber, Supervisor of Audit

“These people applied for visa, got the visa; and to be a Belizean citizen, you have to wait five years – they got it within days, months, weeks of their visa applications being approved.”

 

Eamon Courtenay, P.U.P. Senator

“The persons on page three and four and five, in this Table A, were issued visas, and these persons were to visit Belize?”

 

Carla Faber

“To visit Belize.”

 

Eamon Courtenay

“And these persons, subsequent to that, got Belizean nationality?”

 

Carla Faber

“That’s right.”

 

Eamon Courtenay

“And – all of the persons on this list?”

 

Carla Faber

“All of them got nationality, yes. Belizean nationality.”

 

Eamon Courtenay

“And you are saying to us that they got Belizean nationality less than the time [required] set out in the Immigration Act to qualify for nationality?”

 

Carla Faber

“That’s right.”

 

Eamon Courtenay

“And you are also saying that in addition to the nationality, they got passports, each one of them?”

 

Carla Faber

“True.”

 

Eamon Courtenay

“And they did not qualify for passports?”

 

Carla Faber

“They did not qualify for nationality and passports.”

 

Eamon Courtenay

“And passports, right. Just for my final question on this table, Mister Chairman. How did you make that determination that these individuals did not qualify for nationality and therefore also for passports?”

 

Carla Faber

“Because we had the visa application forms that showed that they applied for visas, the time they got it, the visa number and everything.”

 

Eamon Courtenay

“Right. And you are saying that there was not enough time…”

 

Carla Faber

“…For them to have acquired, qualified for Belizean nationality.”

 

Eamon Courtenay

“Do you know as part of the audit whether the Immigration Department has taken steps to revoke nationality in relation to these persons?”

 

Carla Faber

“I think in our exit interview the Minister, Minister Hulse said that he has started to do that.”

 

Eamon Courtenay

“He has started to revoke…”

 

Carla Faber

“He had started to revoke some of them.”

 

Eamon Courtenay

“Very well, when he comes he will tell us how far he has reached.”

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