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Sep 7, 2017

What’s the point of recommenders?

Diana Locke

In the case of recommenders for passports and nationality, Diana Locke made the point that records of persons named as justices of the peace, teachers and even religious professionals have not been kept up to date, as opposed to members of the National Assembly which has seen few changes. But as with the listing of names in the Gazette, the very purpose of this was called into question by Senator Eamon Courtenay, who believes action should come behind the word.

 

Eamon Courtenay, P.U.P. Senator

“What is the point if somebody comes to you with a birth certificate from vital stats saying that he or she was born in Belize. What difference does it make to you if a justice of the peace says that I have known this person for five years?”

 

Diana Locke, Director of Immigration

“In that case, you have to present another form of ID.”

 

Eamon Courtenay

“If you present two forms of ID, satisfactory to you, what difference does it make, whether it is an attorney, a member of the House, a justice of the peace, a teacher says to you that I have known this applicant for five years? When the person has presented legal documentation certifying and establishing his or her nationality, why do you need this? Have you ever called a justice of the peace and said, ‘you say you know Elena Smith for five years, dah true?”

 

Diana Locke

“I haven’t and I haven’t.”

 

Eamon Courtenay

“What’s the point? We are doing these things.”

 

Diana Locke

“And this is what we are saying. We are looking at all of these things because it may not strengthen the process to keep them but we have to find a way. If you are able to bring in your social security card, you’ve been vetted by them, you are able to bring your voters ID because you’ve gone there and somebody has done a secondary check on you. Not everybody is required to have a passport; but by law everybody is required to have a social security card. Unfortunately, minors don’t carry a picture on their card so that makes it a challenge for us.”

 

Locke will resume her testimony next Wednesday at ten a.m.

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