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Oct 4, 2017

Immigration Hooks Up with Interpol; What Happened to Nationality Committee?

Diana Locke

Another important recommendation is the installation of background checks for persons applying for nationality. The Immigration Department, according to Director Diana Locke, is now at least partially linked to the International Criminal Police Organization or Interpol and is no longer accepting checks of criminal records solely from the Criminal Investigation Branch. But the director was less clear on a nationality scrutinizing committee discussed by the Auditor General and requested clarification on that.

 

Diana Locke, Director of Immigration

“The Interpol check is a part of the Special Branch vetting that is done, hence the reason why it takes a little before it comes back. And which is a part of the permanent residency. And as I indicated earlier, we are connected, we have access to Interpol through one part of our system right now, we should be getting the other part shortly and the moment we get that it will form a part of our checks.”

 

Mark Lizarraga, Senator, Business Community

“Recommendation twenty-three is that a revision is made regarding the decision to accept an applicant’s criminal record only from the Belize Criminal Investigation Branch for nationality applicants; this decision, she states, violates the Nationality Act.”

 

Diana Locke

“I think we addressed that in twenty-two just now.”

 

Mark Lizarraga

“Audit is informed as to when and why the Nationality Advisory Committee was removed, and who gave the authority for its dismissal from reviewing nationality applications?”

 

Diana Locke

“I’m not familiar with the Nationality Advisory Committee; I am familiar with the Nationality Scrutinizing Committee which was put in place in 2014. Nobody has been able to give me information about that, so I’m not sure. I’m not aware of that Committee; I’m not sure of who it was made up of, whether it was legislated…”

 

Mark Lizarraga

“You do not wish to review applications before the Nationality Scrutinizing Committee? It was done internally and you are not sure if a committee was set up?”

 

Diana Locke

“I’m not aware that there was a committee.”

 

Mark Lizarraga

“We can follow up; who would be the best person to answer this question?”

 

Diana Locke

“I think, perhaps, we need clarification from the Auditor General of specifically what she is referring to. The process as I understand it, the files are processed, they are prepared, they would go to the Director for vetting and then from the Director they would go to the Minister for signature. So I’m not aware that there was a committee.”

 

Locke completed her testimony just before three this afternoon. We will have more in Thursday’s newscast.

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Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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