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Mar 10, 2017

Patrick Tillett Details “Visa Services”

As we have already seen in the Senate Inquiry and confirmed by no less than Minister of Immigration Godwin Hulse, the business of visas, especially for Chinese nationals, is big and often murky.  Accountant Patrick Tillett ran a side business as a facilitator for friends in Belize who wanted visas for their countrymen to visit – except that they often used them as springboards to other Immigration services such as nationality and passports.  According to Tillett, they were willing to pay the big fees he and his immigration agent required just for access to the Department.

 

Aldo Salazar, Chair, Senate Special Select Committee

“You were approached by agents for 6 people you referred to as clients who wanted visas?”

 

Patrick Tillett

Patrick Tillett, Financial Controller, Belize City Council

“Correct.”

 

Aldo Salazar

“You run a business to help people to get visas?”

 

Patrick Tillett

“No, that’s not normally what I do, I’m an accountant.”

 

Aldo Salazar

“Well, I have clients because I am an attorney… I run a business where I provide legal services; that’s why I’m asking do you run a business whereby you provide visa services to the public.”

 

Patrick Tillett

“Not generally but if a person who I know ask me I may consider it. I ensure that visa applications are properly filled out, that the requirements for the visa application was met.”

 

Eamon Courtenay, P.U.P. Senator

“All of this was above board?”

 

Patrick Tillett

“Yes.”

 

Eamon Courtenay

“So what was the necessity for paying you a thousand and paying 3 thousand to this person if it’s all above board?”

 

Patrick Tillett

“I suspect that when they don’t have confidence when they apply they will get one.”

 

Eamon Courtenay

“Who is they? I don’t understand.”

 

Patrick Tillett

“The clients don’t have confidence in doing it themselves, so they pay for it.”

 

Eamon Courtenay

“But it’s above board, they have fulfilled the requirements, you have assured them of that, so what are they paying three thousand dollars for?”

 

Patrick Tillett

“People are willing to pay.”

 

Eamon Courtenay

“I understand that but you are in the business, what are they paying three thousand dollars for?”

 

Patrick Tillett

“I just explained to you what they are paying for, for me to handle the processing for them.”

 

Eamon Courtenay

“What is there to handle? Going to the office?”

 

Patrick Tillett

“I sent an agent.”

 

Eamon Courtenay

“What does the agent do?”

 

Patrick Tillett

“He handles it.”

 

Eamon Courtenay

“What does that mean?”

 

Patrick Tillett

“He should file it with the Immigration Department and handle any if there is a discrepancy, if there is any follow up, that’s what he will handle.”

 

Tillett collected a fairly handsome sum of money for his work as a “facilitator”, but he admits that with the Immigration Department’s less than sterling reputation, nobody who’s anybody wants to be seen going in and out of there too often. That’s why, he said, he chose a middleman – Mr. Middleton – to complete the process in Belmopan, restricting his role to simply looking over visa applications to ensure that they were correct and up-to-date.

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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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