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Jun 29, 2017

Why Did Cabinet Stop Security Clearance Checks for Nationality?

Immigration Officer Ady Pacheco, as we showed you on Wednesday, was extensively questioned about the process of work at the Department. In the time when she handled permanent residence, she took the rare opportunity to question why it was that it was directed that no further security checks be conducted on applicants for that service. She was told, without any further explanation, that it was a Cabinet decision. It is a decision, she said, with which she disagreed.

 

Mark Lizarraga, Senator, Business Community

“In your years at the Department, were you ever told to be on the lookout for human trafficking, human smuggling, terrorism, foreign nationals trying to use our Belizean nationality and identity to no good?”

 

Ady Pacheco

Ady Pacheco, Immigration Officer 1

“Yes, sir.”

 

Mark Lizarraga

“Can you tell us some about that and how was that?”

 

Ady Pacheco

“That was why when I moved over to the Nationality Section, that was my main concern and that was why I asked why the security clearance was completely removed from the whole application; to me that was a very important factor as the security clearance – it runs basically a background check on this person, not only in his home country but worldwide; so when that had been removed, I questioned it.”

 

Mark Lizarraga

“Do you recall what the response was?”

 

Ady Pacheco

“Yes; I was told it was a Cabinet decision.”

 

Mark Lizarraga

“And did they say why?”

 

Ady Pacheco

“I don’t recall; I even continued to ask why [but] I was basically [told] it was a Cabinet decision.”

 

Mark Lizarraga

“In hindsight now, we can see perhaps that was not the best move. You agree?”

 

Ady Pacheco

“Best move for what, sir?”

 

Mark Lizarraga

“When it comes to protecting, the way we safeguarded our nationals, the whole process; it laxed up on something that was important.”

 

Ady Pacheco

“Something that was very important, in my view.”

 

Pacheco said she could not recall other similar directives.

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