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Feb 1, 2017

Former Chief of Nationality Calls Out Bosses for Decisions Made in 2012 Rush

The Senate Special Select Committee sought to call three witnesses to today’s public hearing at the National Assembly in Belmopan. But only one made it – the former Office in Charge of the Nationality Section of the Department, Gordon Wade. We’ll tell you why the others – Ady Pacheco and Edgar Cano – were not able to attend in a later story. But first, the shock revelations made by former Director of the Department, Ruth Meighan, last week have put many of her former senior employees in the hot seat. One of those revelations carrying traction is that a majority of the two thousand one hundred and ten persons who were sworn in between October of 2011 and February of 2012 and whose names appear in a register prepared by the Department’s Record Management Unit did not qualify for their nationality on the basis of not meeting the iron-clad five-year rule for ordinary residence in Belize. Wade said he believed that “five years is five years” in terms of legal residence, but he made clear that there was room for different judgment – and ultimately, error – by the top bosses – Meighan and former Minister of State Elvin Penner. But he said he did not attempt to prevent auditors from checking an overwhelming majority of the files as they claim in the Report.

 

Gordon Wade

Aldo Salazar, Chair, Senate Special Select Committee

“My question is whether there was a specific request to you by the Audit team to look at these purported two thousand one hundred and something files?”

 

Gordon Wade, Former Officer In Charge, Nationality Section

“Never did. (Interruption) No, they were never requested from me.”

 

Aldo Salazar

“Is it correct to suggest that the majority of these files were irregular?”

 

Gordon Wade

“Again, irregular…?”

 

Aldo Salazar

Aldo Salazar

“That is the suggestion made by former Director Meighan, in response to a line of questioning from Senator Courtenay.”

 

Gordon Wade

“As I mentioned a while ago, at that time Section ten was basically what was stated here: that you needed to be ordinarily residing in Belize for five years. And at the Director’s level or the Ministerial level, me, as an Immigration officer, says that I believe five ordinary – that means legally residing in Belize for five years. In the Director’s eye and the Minister’s eye, having children going to school living in Belize, having other Belizeans attesting to knowing you for a certain time, meant to them five ordinary years living in Belize; so I don’t know if that is considered an irregularity. And that’s why when I mentioned when the Senator asked me about the former Director’s talking about a culture, which I said I couldn’t say what she was referring to. But being in the Department and seeing – my view being that you must show five legal years, but because of the way the law was structured, they can interpret it to be having three children in Belize living here, having Belizeans attesting to knowing [you] here – if that would be considered irregular then I can’t say that; that’s their interpretation and that is the leverage they had.”

 

Aldo Salazar

“What I want to be clear with, is that in relation to these two thousand, one hundred and ten names which at paragraph two-ten is mentioned; it says, we were unable to request and examine all of those nationality files – I believe they examined seven – they were unable to request and examine the entire. Was there anything you did which prevented them from requesting and examining those files?”

 

Gordon Wade

“No, sir.”

 

According to Wade, the files remain in place although there were times when the Police Department and the Ministry itself had requested certain amounts of them.

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1 Response for “Former Chief of Nationality Calls Out Bosses for Decisions Made in 2012 Rush”

  1. CLUTE says:

    You’re on the hot seat now. It’s your turn to act like you are a “Special Needs”. You knew exactly what the regulations were and the requirements. I wonder how much it cost for you to turn your head. I will keep calling your names, Penner, Castro, Beverly Castillo, Peyrefitte(Even though he threatened to sue if his name was called), Ruth Meighan, John Saldivar, Godwin Hulse. You all were the biggest players and hustlers in this scandal. You had a close relative of the PM also, but she used to mostly send others to do her dirty work. I digress.

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