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Jul 13, 2017

Checks and Balances Needed to Fix Immigration Service for San Pedro

Manuel Heredia Jr.

Heredia also conceded during his testimony that he did not have specific authority to transfer packages from the Immigration Department’s main office in Belmopan to its sub-office in San Pedro Town, and vice versa. While he maintains that he was trusted by both P.U.P. and U.D.P. administrations since taking office in 1994 and never broke that trust, he allowed that with a proper system of checks and balances in place, he would not mind resuming the role again. In his view, the quality of service to the popular tourist destination from Immigration has stagnated in the years since he was asked to step aside.

 

Elena Smith, Senator, Trade Unions

“Looking back now, would you still provide that service to your constituents?”

 

Manuel Heredia Jr., Minister of Tourism and Civil Aviation

“It was discontinued and it’s unfortunate, because the services that we are now receiving is one-third of what it used to be in the past; in other words, it turned out to be something bad for my constituency, because we can no longer receive the timely fashion that it used to happen in the past – it can no longer be. Now the new system they have applied, is that for some reason, a particular person needs his passport, then I have to bring a receipt from that person; get an authorization from the person responsible for passport; take it back to the person – that person will sign a copy of their Social Security, a copy of my Social Security, and signed by a Justice of the Peace, so that is what is in place now. It still works, but it’s not as efficient as it used to be. Probably that’s the proper way but not the most efficient way.”

 

Ashley Rocke, Senator for Churches

“So Minister, all that time, you mean that no kind of process was put in place to fix that situation that you used to help with?”

 

Manuel Heredia Jr.

“I believe that at that time, probably there could have been a better way – I don’t know. But as I mentioned before, it was just a request made by Ministers in both administrations that requested that that service can be provided.”

 

Ashley Rocke

“In your view, an installation of a process to make sure that documents are taken back and forth from the island would be something that would work well?”

 

Manuel Heredia, Jr.

“I believe that probably it could be continued, but probably with better checks and balances that probably say, ‘Minister, this is what is going in that envelope – so many visas and how many passports will go to the island,’ probably that way I am going to be more conscious of what is there. But I made it a must, as soon as I arrived, to deliver that package to the officer in charge.”

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