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Feb 2, 2017

Directors Took Process for Granted, Gordon Wade Claims

Also part of the “culture” at the Immigration Department was a tendency to take everything at face value – if the preparatory work had been done at the lower levels on particular files, only a final sign-off was needed by either then-Director Ruth Meighan or then-deputy Maria Marin to complete it. According to Gordon Wade, the officer on the run immediately below them as one of the two heads of section, he was not usually in communication with the top bosses and they relied solely on his recommendation or reservation. For the most part, he had to catch any mistakes or omissions himself.

 

Eamon Courtenay, P.U.P. Senator

“She said that she took on faith – if Mister Wade sent me the file, and he has ticked everything, I don’t verify – Mister Wade has ticked it, so that’s it.”

 

Ruth Meighan

Gordon Wade, Former Officer in Charge, Nationality Section

“Like I said, I make it an effort to highlight…”

 

Eamon Courtenay

“But before we get there, I just want to know whether you’ve heard that, understood her; the impression I got – let me be frank – that she was blaming the people below her.”

 

Gordon Wade

“From what she said, she said that she took it for granted that files that came up to her were in order.”

 

Eamon Courtenay

“Right. And the question I have for you now, is from your perspective, a head of the Department – you have gone through and you are sending it up to her; was it your understanding that she would do any verification?”

 

Gordon Wade

“Like I said, I would highlight the condition of the file; it was up to her discretion. I didn’t – I would never vet a file and mention that it qualified or it met the requirements when it didn’t. so it was my obligation to mention that this person is applying, hasn’t been able to show five legal years but has demonstrated what they considered ordinary residence in Belize. And like I said, the file would mention that it is recommended or requested by such a person, and it is forwarded for you recommendation.”

 

Eamon Courtenay

“But what I am asking you about, is from your perspective, if you recommended someone to get nationality, did the Director simply accept that or could the Director say yes or no?”

 

Gordon Wade

“Yes, when I did a recommendation and I stated that all was in order and I recommended, most of the time she just approved or recommended it to the Minister.”

 

Eamon Courtenay

“She never discussed it with you?”

 

Gordon Wade

“Not really.”

 

The hearings continue next Wednesday. 

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