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Jun 16, 2017

Belize Weighs Policy on Admitting Refugees, Improving Services

Beverly Williams

The Immigration and Nationality Department has been under intense scrutiny ever since Auditor General Dorothy Bradley released a special report on findings within that government agency during 2011 and 2013.  That microscope aside, Minister of State Beverly Williams today discussed the ministry’s position on Central American refugees who are seeking residence in Belize.  She also touched briefly on the existing state of affairs at the department under her tenure.

 

Beverly Williams, Minister of Immigration

“If you recall, somewhere in the 1980s I believe Belize was very instrumental in looking at a refugee program.  We had the birth of Salvapan, Las Flores and all those Salvapan communities.  At this juncture I believe we are impacted by the surrounding nations and the challenges in there as it relates to gang violence.  So that is what we are saying for Belize, we have to be very careful when we look at what it is that we are introducing to Belize and that is a part of what I said earlier in developing the proper structures and systems so we know we can facilitate those refugees once we begin signing those.  But it is a work in progress.”

 

Reporter

“Now looking at the immigration situation, you have the senate inquiry and there is so much focus on the auditor general’s report from that period…”

 

Beverly Williams

“Let me first of all speak to what I heard yesterday on the news, in terms of the questioning of the former Minister of Immigration, the Cab. Sec. and the responsibility being laid at his feet for what was done in immigration and he himself taking responsibility.  And that is why we and I take very seriously the responsibility given to me by the prime minister.  The matter of immigration is very delicate and of course we have to look at everything holistically.  We are trying to be involved but yet because of all the nature of, or the delicate nature of immigration at this time, who’s really responsible?  We are all being scrutinized by the public officers but I will tell you that my responsibility is to clear up the mess.”

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