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Sep 25, 2017

Business Senator Defends Pace of Senate Committee

Mark Lizarraga

Member of the Senate Special Select Committee, business community Senator Mark Lizarraga, was a guest of Channel Five’s Open Your Eyes this morning. The Committee has been meeting since last November and called at least thirty witnesses to address various aspects of operations at the embattled Immigration Department between 2011 and 2013. But there is concern that it may come to a premature end. The Chamber of Commerce and Industry issued a strongly-worded press release on the eve of Independence imploring Prime Minister Dean Barrow to rescind his ceiling for funding to the Committee, which is currently set to run out at the end of November. But the greater question is, has the Committee served its purpose and fulfilled its terms of reference? Lizarraga says that with the help of the public media coverage, the public has a greater understanding of what took place at the Immigration Department.


Mark Lizarraga, Senator, Business Community

“The public has been well-informed, has seen what has happened in this Ministry, what has been happening at the various branches of the department, and I think the people have a much better understanding now of what it is was taking place. Let’s call a spade a spade: we have seen Ministers involved in illegalities; we have seen procedures totally not followed; we have seen procedures unclear in many instances. We have seen certain people that appear to have been the great facilitators – anything that’s not complete, give it to them; don’t worry, it’s going to be done. We have heard from C.E.O.’s who have said that they were not focused on “the little things,” they called it – they were focused on trying to get things focused and structured and they were ignoring, for the most part, certain things. We have seen instructions from Cabinet, basically saying circumvent the law, and do not follow established guidelines and procedures. We’ve heard from the new director that she has ignored those requests from Cabinet and she’s continuing to do her own due diligence – as she should according to the law, she’s respecting the law. A lot has been going on; a lot more, in my view, needs to go on, because we see now that other departments affect and weigh in on that whole nationality process. So it depends on where you are looking at it from, and if we truly want to fix the system, we need to truly understand what went wrong and where.”

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