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Feb 22, 2017

Ministers Prevailed on Immigration Director to Tend to Constituents

Returning for his second time in the witness chair this afternoon was former officer in charge of the Nationality Section, Gordon Wade. In his previous appearance, he named several Ministers of Government as being frequent visitors to the department for various items from visa to nationality recommendations. But today he spoke of a “Minister’s List,” his shorthand for a list of requests by Ministers that was sent up to the director of the department for immediate action – another instance of the pervasive ministerial influence in the department, as Wade could not say why it was necessary for the Ministers to intervene. Despite previously saying that Minister’s requests ordinarily did not sway his decision, their requests of the director proved more difficult to ignore or set aside.

 

Gordon Wade

Gordon Wade, Former Officer in Charge, Nationality Section

“If a Minister from Belize City would send a letter to the Director saying, in my constituency there are twenty applications in process, could you please look into them for me, to see what are the status of them, can they be processed; then the Director would send that memo to me, kindly locate these files and see if they are ready to vet, or vet them if they are ready to vet.”

 

Mark Lizarraga, Senator, Business Community

“But why would a Minister need to intervene in that process, if the process had started already and was going through? Did the Minister’s intervention make a difference, did it speed you up?”

 

Gordon Wade

“It was requested from me, sir.”

 

Mark Lizarraga

“That was not my question; my question was did the Minister’s request speed up your process?”

 

Gordon Wade

“How would a Minister’s request speed up that process?”

 

Mark Lizarraga

“That’s my question. Then why was it necessary for the Ministers to intervene?”

 

Gordon Wade

“I couldn’t answer that, sir.”

 

Mark Lizarraga

“But it had no effect absolutely on what you did or the order in which you did things?”

 

Gordon Wade

“Sir, files are vetted chronologically. If I am vetting files for 2014, and a file is requested from 2015, I couldn’t vet that; they would have to request that file from me, because I’m presently vetting files for 2014.”

 

Mark Lizarraga

“But when they came in and spoke to the Director and requested your intervention and your attention, what did that do? Did that change the order of your sequence?”

 

Gordon Wade

“Sir, this was a request from my Director; she would have sent to me and said, kindly locate these files and give me a status update on them. That’s my Director – what I am supposed to do? Tell her I am dealing with 2014?”

 

Mark Lizarraga

“So in answer to my question, did you change the process, expedite the process for those people on the Minister’s list because of that intervention?”

 

Gordon Wade

“Upon the Director requesting a file from me, I have to send it up to her with a report.”

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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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