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Jan 26, 2017

My Most Grievous Fault: Meighan Says Sorry for Immigration Fumbles

On Wednesday, we showed you how ex-Immigration Director Ruth Meighan took responsibility as senior officer for not taking advantage of the resources available to her to properly vet documents. But there is a greater mea culpa she took on, and that is for most of the entire state of affairs under her tenure. While she pointed out at every turn that she relied on her subordinates to be on the up and up with the thousands of documents that they deal with daily, it was clear that they did not, and she agreed with P.U.P. Senator Eamon Courtenay that the buck stopped with her.

 

Ashley Rocke

Reverend Ashley Rocke, Church Senator

“What I find it hard to believe, listening to some of the questions that were asked, that it sounds as if though you, the responsibility you held was very disconnected from your responsibility that you should have really been performing, which is, to make sure that people who come into our country, met the requirements of our country. You seem to have been aloof of that. Would you agree?”

 

Ruth Meighan, Former Director of Immigration

“No, I disagree with you because what I said to you is, my – I did not personally accept applications for visas. I did not personally vet the persons who are coming in. What I did was to give approvals based on the recommendations coming to my desk. And so, if an officer brings an application, and says that this person meets the requirements, and all the things are on file to indicate that this person meets the requirements, I give approval on that.”

 

Ashley Rocke

“Within my mind, follow up would have been very crucial, seeing that, as was said by some other persons that there seemed to have been a system in that department, that was not causing processes to be duly performed. So that, it would have been my responsibility, as the director, to make sure that as I am agreeing on these people who come to live in the country, that I am making sure that they fit the criteria required by the government, or the regulations, no?”

 

Ruth Meighan

Ruth Meighan

“Well, that is what I do. I get the information from the officer indicating that the person meets the criteria for them to be given a visa.”

 

Eamon Courtenay, P.U.P. Senator

“Who is responsible at the end of the day, when the officer below you has ticked all the boxes, and says this person qualifies for a visa, and sends it to you – who responsible when in fact that person does not qualify, you or the officer below?”

 

Ruth Meighan

“I am the person that gives the approval for the visa.”

 

Eamon Courtenay

“Who is responsible? Who is accountable?”

 

Eamon Courtenay

Ruth Meighan

“I am the person that gives the approval so I believe I would be the person who is accountable for the issuing of visa.”

 

Eamon Courtenay

“I’m specifically with respect to passports, who is responsible and who is accountable for the period when you were there?”

 

Ruth Meighan

“The director.”

 

Eamon Courtenay

“You, even though you told us… what you told us later – I want to be clear because you are saying it’s possible that you are not at all involved in the process.”

 

Ruth Meighan

“No, I was not.”

 

Eamon Courtenay

“But you are saying…”

 

Ruth Meighan

“And that is the system that is there and it is still there, that is the way the process is being done.”

 

Eamon Courtenay

“You are taking responsibility?”

 

Ruth Meighan

“For the period I was there.”

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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.

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