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Jul 19, 2017

Background Checks: the Law or a Decoration?

Allen Whylie

Speaking of background checks, were the Police Department or Ministry of Immigration consulted about the Cabinet’s decision to stop Special Branch police from carrying out the standard background checks on applicants for nationality? Commissioner of Police Allen Whylie indicated that he was not even sure if the check was a legal requirement or merely an administrative one, although he conceded that it would not make much difference.

 

Allen Whylie, Commissioner of Police

“What I’m not sure of and I stand to be informed or corrected, is whether or not the requirement was a legal requirement, by law, or whether it was an administrative requirement; I am not sure and I am not certain of that. But I would agree that the police department plays an important role in the security of the country.”

 

Mark Lizarraga, Pro-tem Chair, Senate Special Select Committee

“You are not sure whether Belize visa requirements, effective December first, 2011 and the Auditor General is quoting 2012 and 2013, prepared by the Immigration Department, identified these countries as needing security clearance – is that what you are saying?”

 

Allen Whylie

“No, I’m saying that I understand what the Auditor General said; what I am uncertain, what I am not clear of it is whether or not the requirement for the security clearance was by law, or whether or not it was an administrative process, perhaps put in by the Director of Immigration.”

 

Eamon Courtenay, P.U.P. Senator

“Commissioner, what’s the difference?”

 

Allen Whylie

“Because I have been asked in terms of whether or not I knew, and I’m saying yes I have seen this; I knew there were some countries that required security clearance; I don’t know whether or not it was an administrative process, where different directors may have put in certain administrative process, or whether or not it was the law of Belize that required that.”

 

Eamon Courtenay

“Would you agree with me that it really makes no difference from a security point of view?”

 

Allen Whylie

“From a security point of view; but then also, you need to understand that the Auditor General was saying that these things were not done – but was it the law requiring it to be done or was it an administrative process? I don’t know; that’s what I am asking whether we do know.”

 

Eamon Courtenay

“From a security point of view, what difference would it make?”

 

Allen Whylie

“It wouldn’t make a difference, because if it was an administrative process and it comes to the Department we will do what needs to be done; but I don’t want it to appear from the book that because the Auditor General said it wasn’t done, that some law was broken.”

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