Belize - Belize News - Channel5Belize.com - Great Belize Productions - Belize Breaking News
Home » Featured, Miscellaneous, People & Places, Trials » Did Ministers’ Recommendations Sway Immigration Officers?
Jan 25, 2017

Did Ministers’ Recommendations Sway Immigration Officers?

Ministers of the Government of Belize tend to enjoy their power, especially when it comes to influencing their constituents. Of course, constituents tend to take advantage of that power and influence when they so wish. In the case of Immigration and Nationality, all members of the National Assembly are among the recognized recommenders for passports, but in the case of visas and nationality certificates, the Auditor General has called their interventions “irregular.” But did those famous recommender’s letters from the likes of Elvin Penner, Edmond Castro, Manuel Heredia Junior and others sway the Immigration Department any? According to former Director Ruth Meighan, not really; it was all part of the paperwork.

 

Eamon Courtenay, P.U.P. Senator

“Was a letter from a Minister a requirement?”

 

Ruth Meighan

Ruth Meighan, Former Director of Immigration

“No.”

 

Eamon Courtenay

“So am I to understand from your answer that the letter of the Minister played no role?”

 

Ruth Meighan

“That’s not what I am saying; I am saying it was a recommendation.”

 

Eamon Courtenay

“Did you consider the recommendations from the Ministers?”

 

Ruth Meighan

“Yes; it is a recommendation like from anybody else. It is a recommendation; it is a letter from the Minister recommending and the approval is given based on the information presented to say that the person met the requirements for a visa.”

 

Eamon Courtenay

“So if a Minister writes to you and says Mister Sam or Miss Mary from China wants to come to Belize and is applying for a visa, and I ask you to give it favourable consideration; have you ever called a Minister and asked him if he knows who [are] those people he recommended?”

 

Ruth Meighan

“That application is then given to the officer in charge of the section so that they could do the due process to process that application, and based on their recommendation, that approval is given.”

 

Eamon Courtenay

“Right. I will ask you my question again: Have you ever called one of the Ministers and asked them…?”

 

Ruth Meighan

“No.”

 

Eamon Courtenay

“Right, so what did you do with those letters?”

 

Ruth Meighan

“Those letters [were] used as recommendation on the file, and when the officer brings it to me and says the person meets the requirement, that is the basis upon which we give the approval.”

Be Sociable, Share!


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.

Advertise Here

Leave a Reply

CAPTCHA Image
*