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Jan 19, 2017

Godwin Adamant: “Don’t Care” About Ministers Recommending Visas for Unknowns

The Ministry of Immigration and Nationality, headed by Senator Godwin Hulse, and in particular the Immigration Department, has been on the permanent hot seat for several months now. This is in light of the revelations made in the Auditor General’s Special Report issued in May of 2016 and made public three months later. The Minister has passionately defended the actions of his Ministry in some instances even as he condemned others. Former Immigration Director Ruth Meighan at Wednesday’s hearings of the Senate Special Select Committee said that the Department approved visas on the recommendations of nearly everyone – mostly for people they didn’t know. But Hulse remains adamant even in the face of torrid media questioning that the policy was acceptable, as opposed to more stringent regulations on passports.

 

Godwin Hulse

Godwin Hulse, Minister of Immigration and Nationality

“The visa is to visit Belize, for thirty days; it is a visitor’s visa. You have to have a criteria to come, a place to stay, and a return ticket. You meet that – I wish the billion Chinese would come, because if you do the billion by the two thousand per Chinese, we would never have to pay any taxes or work for the rest of my life at least, and everything would be hunky-dory and free. I don’t have that problem. I also don’t have a problem with any Minister recommending; we live in a real world, you know, and these guys you know they get contributions from…”

 

Reporter

“Recommending people that they don’t know, that was the issue…”

 

Godwin Hulse

“You don’t have to know the people, man! This is silly to say that you know!”

 

Reporter

“And the numbers that they were recommending as well…”

 

Godwin Hulse

“Marisol, listen to me, you don’t have to know the people. If you come to me and you want to say I bring my cousin, and you are a contributor to me and you are asking me for a favour, and I say please look at the file for Marisol’s cousin, and all is in order, facilitate if you can, what is wrong with that?”

 

Reporter

“That is not the practice anywhere else, using the example of the U.S., I can’t just get any Minister to recommend me…”

 

Godwin Hulse

“No, but the U.S. used to want somebody to support you and write all sorts of things before they give you the letter – what is this problem we are having? You know what I would have a problem with? If a Minister goes to a Director of Immigration and says, “This is illegal, make sure he gets a visa, etc.” That would be totally and completely wrong…”

 

Reporter

“She red-flagged these Ministers; this is your former Director of Immigration doing this and saying you were made aware of it.”

 

Godwin Hulse

“I don’t care! I’ve said time and time again, it could be anybody – that is what representatives do! We have to understand that and not be… now if they recommended and it was wrong or it was illegal, I would have a problem with it; but if somebody comes to you and says I want to bring my cousin, I want to bring my sister, could you facilitate my file or speed up my file – what is wrong with that? That is what representatives do!”

 

The Minister was also careful to reiterate that his door was open to any Immigration officer who felt he was pressured in any way to satisfy a fellow Minister’s or other senior official’s requests. Meighan returns to the Committee’s public hearing next Wednesday and Hulse is expected to follow in due time.

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