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Sep 28, 2017

Who Will Bell the Immigration Cat?

Mark Lizarraga

It has been a particular practice of Business Community Senator Mark Lizarraga to go through the Auditor General’s recommendations across her three-volume report with all of the witnesses, where possible, at each hearing. But very few of those witnesses are in a position to do much about it.  That is not the case with Director of Immigration Diana Locke, whose position is frequently called on in the report to ensure that the recommendations are implemented.

 

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

“The Auditor General when she writes her report is very clear: she says, “The Director of Immigration should…” and she recommends that “The Director of Immigration does,” so this is an opportunity to get on the record, in the testimony from the Director, to see specifically how she feels about the recommendations and what recommendations she intends to carry out. The Director was forthright today in saying in some instances that this specific recommendation is above my pay grade – you need to ask the C.E.O. or the Ministry or the Ministers or Cabinet. In some instances, she said, I can’t handle that – that has to be handled at a different level. It’s good to hear that, because at the end of the day we need to know who’s going to be responsible for taking those recommendations and putting it into action. We need to see action, I think there is a strong level of skepticism, even in your comment that you made just now, that people believe that nothing will happen – but I think it’s important that the people of Belize understands where the responsibility lies for things to happen. And I think that’s what we are trying to ascertain. I think the Director is on the ground, she is learning the system. I think she has done a lot of improvements, I think we’ve heard where a lot has been done but I think that there is a lot more than needs to be done and she agrees. And it’s important for us to know what has been done and what needs to be done, and by whom.”

 

Director Locke is expected to wrap up her testimony at the next session this coming Wednesday.

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