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Feb 9, 2017

Lessons Learned from Missing Visa Foils in West

In Wednesday’s coverage of the Senate Special Select Committee, we highlighted the comments of former head of Services for the Immigration Department, Edgar Cano, who also served for a brief time as chief officer at the Western Border. Most of his questions had to do with the eight missing visa foils that somehow moved from Benque to Belize City. We know now that one officer was rapped by the Public Service Commission, but did the Department learn from the experience? According to Cano, they emphasized safety and security.

 

Mark Lizarraga, Senator for Business Community
“Did you follow up about the missing visa foils, how the system broke down? Did you say to yourself, alright, this should not have happened, because we had a system in place? Did you try to ascertain, as the person in charge out there, what went wrong, and how it could have been avoided in the future?”

 

Mark Lizarraga

Edgar Cano, Former Head of Services, Immigration Department
“Of course, I was concerned.”

 

Mark Lizarraga
“Did you try to find out what happened, and how it could be avoided in the future?”

 

Edgar Cano
“Well, I just thought that maybe we should conclude that maybe we should be more careful. That’s it.”

 

Mark Lizarraga
“Careful?”

 

Edgar Cano
“And then, and that’s why – that is why the officers went in front of the commission.”

 

Mark Lizarraga
“Why did you use the words more careful? But, you had a system in place that already was careful, because you had to hand over, right?”

 

Edgar Cano

Edgar Cano
“Yes.”

 

Mark Lizarraga
“You had to check. You had to count.”

 

Edgar Cano
“Right.”

 

Mark Lizarraga
“You had to signed that you received; you had to sign that you handed over.”

 

Edgar Cano
“Yeah, that’s why.”

 

Mark Lizarraga
“How could you improve the system? How could you improve on that system?”

 

Edgar Cano
“Having more security, more proper containers, proper safety measures, in terms of maybe a proper safe.”

 

Mark Lizarraga
“When the visas were handed over at the shift change, where would the foils be kept, normally?”

 

Edgar Cano
“In a cabinet.”

 

Mark Lizarraga
“In a cabinet. With a lock and key?”

 

Edgar Cano
“With a lock. Yes.”

 

Mark Lizarraga
“Lock and key. So then, the officer before Mister Tench would have had the safe locked. Mister Tench would then have been given the key, checked it, locked it.”

 

Edgar Cano
“Yes.”

 

Mark Lizarraga
“So, the question begs, how did Mr. Wade come in possession of those visas, if he was not the person before. No idea?”

 

Edgar Cano
“Myself, I cannot explain, cannot comment on that, sir.”

 

Mark Lizarraga
“But, you did not make any recommendations – did you make any recommendations after this incident?”

 

Edgar Cano
“Well, the only recommendation could have been for safety, security improvements.”

 

Mark Lizarraga
“Did you make a recommendation?”

 

Edgar Cano
“Verbally, yes, to the department.”

 

Mark Lizarraga
“The department is not a person.”

 

Edgar Cano
“To the director.”

 

Mark Lizarraga
“But, you did make a recommendation. And your recommendation was to get a safe….”

 

Edgar Cano
“Yes.”

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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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