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Mar 2, 2017

Vernon Leslie Admits Director Should Have Been Called in Sooner

In the afternoon, there was further discussion of the visa foil issue. As one of the senior men at the border during the incident, one would have expected that Vernon Leslie would have personally informed the then-Director of Immigration after being unable to gain a satisfactory response from immediate boss Edgar Cano, but no one did. An official report authored by Leslie and obtained by News Five states, “We the supervisors decided that we needed time to carry out a proper investigation to catch the culprits. We suggested to Mr. Cano that in order for us to buy time and to avoid excessive visa loss, we could issue the visa foil numbers to genuine tourist applicants and eight genuine revenue collector’s receipts were issued for them in the amount of one hundred dollars [for] each receipt. By doing this we bought sufficient time to conduct our investigation and incurred absolutely no revenue loss to Government.” But is that justification right in hindsight, and might the Director have suggested a different course of action? The question was put to Leslie on Wednesday and he says he did what he could do in the circumstances; but, he also acknowledged that more could have been done.

 

Dr. Carla Barnett, U.D.P. Senator

“When would a report have been made to the Director, because it would appear to me that in a situation that was as seriously significant as the missing visas, you all got together and worked out a strategy to keep it there, as opposed to reporting it as it ought to have been reported…”

 

Vernon Leslie

Vernon Leslie, Immigration Assistant, Western Border

“We didn’t keep it there, ma’am; we reported it to the Port Commander, who was expected to do his duty.”

 

Dr. Carla Barnett

“No. I don’t think you’re – if you’re telling me that he didn’t do his duty, you have a duty… (Interruption) Can I please finish; if you’re saying that he did not do his duty, and there may be instances when we feel our supervisors may not be doing what they’re supposed to do, you have a responsibility as a public officer to report above – and you’re not really reporting above, because the chain of command right now with Mr. Cano out is the Director, directly above you, above all of you. So any of you could have picked up the phone – all of you who are supervisors there could have picked up the phone and say, “Director, we have an issue, eight visas missing; we talked to Mr. Cano, he’s on leave, but we think we need to sort this out.” And nobody did that. So I’m asking why, because it would be normal for that to be done.”

 

Vernon Leslie

“After having hindsight, looking in hindsight now, you’re right. We should have ensured that the report was received by the Director. But it was not a failure on my behalf, because I did what I was paid to do; I did what I was trained to do. I passed the report to the superior officer at the Border, which was Mr. Cano. I did my job; he didn’t do his.”

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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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