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Jan 11, 2017

A Culture of Independence Permeated Immigration, Says Former Director

Maria Marin

A key question that the Senate Special Senate Committee on Immigration is seeking to answer is: despite all the protocols and manuals and meetings and reminders that officers in major positions, such as the Port Commanders in charge of the main points of entry countrywide, got to keep their records and keep in touch with Belmopan, why were there so many breakdowns in communication that led to this significant degree of errors and mistakes as documented in the Audit Report, with wide-reaching consequences? Testifying this morning, then-Acting Director Maria Marin said she was fighting an entrenched culture of isolation and independence that led to dangerous things.
Elena Smith, Senator, Trade Unions

“You say that there was a policy, there was constant monitoring, but yet we have all of these issues that came up. So was it a matter of monitoring, or is it that we did not evaluate, or should we have evaluated the policy to see if there needed to be some tweaks to it, to lessen what was occurring?”

Maria Marin, Former Director of Immigration

“Like I mentioned, the culture was something that – it was a different culture that had been ingrained in the Department at the time. We were basically trying to fix that culture, change that culture; it’s not easy. And we had our – what I like to call our core management team, who were the finance officer, the admin officer and the I.T. manager, visiting the different stations, offices. We have reports, like I mentioned, of the offices that they visited as early as – I think it was March, April, August of 2013, as early as then. We had quarterly OIC’s or Port Commanders’ meetings when we consistently reminded officers, OIC’s, of what we were seeing and what we were not seeing.”

 

The hearings will continue at a date to be announced.

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