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Jul 12, 2017

What Nationality Rush in 2012? Minister Distances Himself

Mark Lizarraga

Montero said he could not say for certain whether the appearance of Saad Harmouch in his list was a genuine mistake or someone trying to pull a fast one. But why was it that the Ministry called on Montero in the first place to have his people ready for a January thirteenth swearing-in ceremony? Montero had no answers for that either, but he denied that it had anything to do with that year’s nationality rush.

 

Mark Lizarraga, Senator, Business Community

“So it appears that somebody in the Department was trying to use your request, are you saying, to put people that were not in your division, on your request?”

 

Rene Montero, Minister of Works

“I cannot say for certain; it could have been a genuine mistake on their part.”

 

Mark Lizarraga

“For a process that was not normal?”

 

Rene Montero

Rene Montero

“Which process are you talking about?”

 

Mark Lizarraga

“I’m talking about these ceremonies and you’re writing them to facilitate for this date.”

 

Rene Montero

“Which ceremonies are you referring to?”

 

Mark Lizarraga

“The swearing-in, the nationality ceremonies, that’s what this is all about.”

 

Rene Montero

“There was a ceremony to be held on the thirteenth of January, yes; that’s the only ceremonies that I am aware of.”

 

Mark Lizarraga

“Right, Minister. So I am having difficulty understanding why is it that you would need to write and request? Why would they need to remind you – Minister, you know what: we’re having a ceremony on the thirteenth but if you write us a letter, your people can be in on the ceremony. That doesn’t make sense, does it?”

 

Rene Montero

“The only one that can answer that question is the people at Immigration.”

 

Michel Chebat

Michel Chebat, P.U.P. Senator

“The facilitation you were requesting was so they can be sworn in on the thirteenth of January, right; you wanted them to be sworn in by the thirteenth of January, correct?”

 

Rene Montero

“That was the date given to me where a swearing-in ceremony [would be held.]”

 

Michel Chebat

“You wanted them to meet a particular date?”

 

Rene Montero

“Yes.”

 

Michel Chebat

“And that would give them sufficient time to get on the voter’s list before the March seventh election, wouldn’t it? That was the last ceremony before the March election?”

 

Rene Montero

“Senator, any person that receives nationality has a right to register, whether on the same day…”

 

Michel Chebat

“I understand that, Minister, but that is not my question.”

 

Rene Montero

“Who am I to tell who they are going to vote for? I would prefer they vote for me.”

 

Michel Chebat

“I’m not asking you that.”

 

Rene Montero

“What are you asking then?”

 

Michel Chebat

“I’m asking you if the facilitation you requested was to ensure that these people would get on the voters’ list before the March seventh election? That’s my question.”

 

Rene Montero

“How would I know that, Senator?”

 

Michel Chebat

“By making sure they got their nationality.”

 

Rene Montero

“But whether they get it or not, once they get their nationality, Senator, they have a right to register. (Cross-talking) they have a right to register; that is their democratic right.”

 

Michel Chebat

“I understand that, but that’s not my question. My question is that the facilitation that you were requesting was to ensure that they would get on the voters’ list.”

 

Rene Montero

“I don’t know. I can’t answer your question.”

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