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Jul 12, 2017

At Senate, Manuel Heredia Tells of Adventures in Couriering for Immigration

Manuel Heredia Jr.

Two more Ministers of Government appeared today before the Senate Special Select Committee on Immigration.  From opposite ends of the country, Tourism Minister Manuel Heredia Junior and Works Minister Rene Montero both make appearances in the Auditor General’s Special Report on Immigration and Nationality 2011-2013.  They were found to have made multiple recommendations for persons to receive visas, passports and nationality for which they did not qualify.  In Heredia Junior’s case, the Auditor General also cast suspicion on why, since 1994, Heredia as Mayor of San Pedro Town, later area representative for Belize Rural South, and ultimately a minister, was asked to be a glorified courier for the department.  While on other business, he moved packages back and forth between Ambergris Caye and Belmopan. Heredia Junior says he never succumbed to the temptation of opening or asking about the packages, and was blindsided by the revelations in the report about them.

 

Manuel Heredia Jr., Minister of Tourism and Civil Aviation

“But there is nothing that individually – it was a sealed manila envelope, addressed to the officer in charge in San Pedro and addressed to the officer in charge in Belmopan. And I believe that my job as the area representative, at the time as Mayor, is to provide services to my constituency – the best service if possible to the constituency, and that is what exactly what I tried to do with it – it was not something that I, on my own went over there ‘Give me this’ and demanded – it was something that I was asked to do. If it is illegal, then I wasn’t aware of that, but I believe it was just a service that I was providing.”

 

Aldo Salazar, Chair, Senate Special Select Committee

“Were you aware [of] what was in the envelope?”

 

Manuel Heredia, Jr.

“Definitely not, because I will never open the envelope to see what is in – if it was visas, if it was passports, no matter what; my job was just to deliver, providing that service, but I would never know what was in [there]. So when I saw that so many visas were taken by Minister Heredia, I said ‘Something is wrong over here;’ because I will never what is inside of the envelope. If someone can provide – and I believe that my credibility up to now and ever since has at no time been questioned – based on that, I believe that both administrations had confidence that nothing will happen, and from that time until now I don’t believe that there is any time that they said something is missing, or that the person that was supposed to receive something didn’t received it, at no time can I remember anything of the sort happening.”

 

Heredia Junior says he was not paid for his work and that the practice was stopped by current Minister of Immigration and Nationality Senator Godwin Hulse, in the aftermath of the Immigration scandal. The area rep also noted in complaint that the efficiency of service to the island has dropped since the removal of the courier service.

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1 Response for “At Senate, Manuel Heredia Tells of Adventures in Couriering for Immigration”

  1. Orlando says:

    MINISTER HEREDIA I NEED TO SEND A PACKAGE TO SAN PEDRO TOMORROW. I’M SURE YOU WON’T SAY NO. I DO VOTE IN SAN PEDRO BY THE WAY!!!

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