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Dec 14, 2016

Senate Committee Chairman Disagrees with Interpretation of Ministers’ Intervention

The Senate Special Committee on Immigration hosted its third meeting in Belmopan today. It continued its questioning of Auditor General, Dorothy Bradley, and Supervisor of Audit Carla Faber, on various aspects of the three-volume Special Audit Report on Visas, Passports and Nationality 2011-2013. One major question raised so far during the meeting is how the Report treated the instances of Ministers directly intervening in the visa process by recommending persons who turned out not to be qualified. The Auditor General had started out by calling it “illegal,” but under questioning at the December seventh meeting, she appeared to step back, saying she considered it’s “irregular” and warranting further investigation. The Committee’s chairman, Aldo Salazar, is not so convinced, and explained why during a session break.

 

Aldo Salazar

Aldo Salazar, Chair, Special Senate Select Committee

“I think it’s important because it was a statement of illegality of the actions of certain persons. In my view – I’m speaking for myself, not for the [Committee] – in my view, that statement of illegality was incorrect, and I felt like it was a matter that had to be clarified, because as far as I know there was no law which was breached, and therefore we could not rightfully call it illegal. As you said, I also took issue, still, with the contention that it was irregular, because I was not able to find anything in the policy or regulation that says that a Minister or any person, any member of the public – it does not have to be a Minister – can’t recommend, or cannot ask, write a letter in support of a person seeking to get a visa to come to Belize. My personal view is that in itself is not irregular, and that’s why I wanted to get some clarity on it, as to what her view was; as to what was the reason for that comment about it being irregular.”

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