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Feb 1, 2017

Gordon Wade Confirms There Was No Communication in Immigration

Gordon Wade

Last week, ex-Director of Immigration Ruth Meighan sidestepped questions of whether she was a “rubber stamp” for final approval of applications for visas, passports, and nationality certificates. But she repeatedly made clear over her two appearances for testimony that she trusted her senior officials to ensure that what landed on her desk represented the complete and accurate record of the applicant. As we know now, most times, it did not. In the case of nationality, Gordon Wade was officer in charge, and he was clear in his testimony as to what specifically was needed for a successful application. But he had little communication with the other sections of the Department, a major reason why specific applications fell through the cracks.

 

Aldo Salazar, Chair, Senate Special Select Committee

“Was there any process by which your office would verify the authenticity of what you are seeing in the passport?”

 

Gordon Wade, Former Officer in Charge, Nationality Section

“No sir.”

 

Aldo Salazar

“Meaning, if you saw in the case of somebody who had a visa, you look at the visa in the passport or you look at the first stamp in the passport…the date when the person first entered the country. Was there any process by which your office would compare what you are seeing in the passport with the records for the issuances of visas?”

 

Gordon Wade

“Not during the time I was there.”

 

Aldo Salazar

“Why I am asking this is because, there seem—you said that you have read the report—and you would have seen that there were numerous instances where according to the Auditor General, visas were issued for people to come to Belize and in a short space of time—in one instance, I think it was the same day—the person got nationality shortly thereafter on the same day. You recall seeing those instances in the report?”

 

Gordon Wade

“I did.”

 

Aldo Salazar

“This is why the question is pertinent for me because I feel strongly that if there had been an attempt to compare what you are seeing in the passport to the visa section and to the records in the visa section. That wouldn’t have been difficult do would it?”

 

Gordon Wade

“No, no. It wouldn’t have been.”

 

Aldo Salazar

“But you are saying that there was no process by which that was a necessity?”

 

Gordon Wade

“No.”

 

Aldo Salazar

“Was there a way for you to check electronically, since the implementation of—I don’t know what the system is called—MIDA system…which is when you come to the airport? Was there a way to verify using the MIDAS system when these persons entered the country for the first time or if they had not been here for the first time?”

 

Gordon Wade

“I don’t think during that period, 2011 to 2013, we had that system as yet.”

 

Aldo Salazar

“Is it possible to do so now?”

 

Gordon Wade

“Yes sir.”

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