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Feb 23, 2017

Junior Immigration Minister Says Work on Reform Must Continue

The day-to-day operations of the Immigration and Nationality Department are coming under the microscope in the ongoing investigation. The Minister of State Beverly Williams is faced with reshaping the image of the sullied department.  You would have heard Williams’ former stomping ground at the Ministry of Natural Resources described as a hotbed of corruption by the Prime Minister.  And her present area of responsibility has admittedly also been rooted in a culture of corruption.  So how does Williams intend to change public perception of the tarnished ministry?

 

Beverly Williams

Beverly Williams, Minister of State, Ministry of Immigration

“I would have a very unpopular view on how you deal with the ingrained culture of corruption, however, that may not be the wisest approach.  I believe though that the Auditor General’s report made some recommendations and if you look at the very summary, the executive summary on each of those reports it says that we should look at that report as a tool and so in effect all those weaknesses where we found those we are implementing policies and procedures again to mitigate those, to look at how we can improve.  How we create structures, how we renew policies, how we update procedures, in terms of ensuring that we try to minimize those compromises that could occur in a weak system.  So it’s building on those that already exist.  Those structures for passports, for those nationality.  You may be aware that there were some committees that were put in place, a visa vetting committee, a nationality scrutinizing committee and there were some amendments to the law in 2014 and those reviews are ongoing so we will proceed to build on those as we go along.”

 

Isani Cayetano

“Now I understand that the testimony of Misses Castellanos is only one statement being given by several people who have been called before the committee to testify.  However, what she has said points to some complicity on the part of employees of the Immigration Department.  What can be done to deal with this matter on a human resource level?  Can these people be recommended for transfer?  What happens now in terms of being able to deal with the issue directly?”

 

Beverly Williams

“I am, as the Minister of State with responsibility, cannot look at persons in immigration and to cast aspersions or to find anybody guilty for that matter, in terms of any infraction.  I believe some of those persons for the things that were identified went before the Public Service Commission and those persons were placed back in the department.  We have to begin from that point that persons in there working within the rules and the guidelines provided and we have to build on the weaknesses, as I said, where they may have identified that the structures were weak, the acceptance process was weak, the review systems were weak.  We have subsequently put in some of those processes and I say we continue to build on them.”

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