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Nov 15, 2017

Won Hong Kim Could Evade Gazette Publication for Nationality

Won Hong Kim

P.U.P. Senator Eamon Courtenay questioned Minister Hulse on the matter of the composition of the Nationality Committee, which considers the qualifications of applicants, as well as the publication of names and addresses of persons applying for citizenship by registration.  His question was, citing the case of Won Hong Kim, is that enough?  After some back and forth, Hulse conceded that the policy could be expanded to further provide details to help persons make reports on those who they feel do not fit the bill.


Godwin Hulse

Godwin Hulse, Minister of Immigration and Nationality

“The point of that, Senator, was for broader, more transparent ventilation. And I had heard the question you had asked and I mulled over it a bit. But let me suggest at that time, when that piece of legislation was being drafted, we were at our best efforts to think how we could put it in the public. You know that some time ago, the newspapers, I don’t know if they still do it, used to extract from the Gazette births, deaths and marriages, because those are public things. We figured the same – the whole public should be concerned about this. Here is this huge Immigration issue that has shocked the nation. So Channel Seven and Kremandala and everybody could go to the Gazette and say, so here are the publications of the names of people, so there is a broader base of people to say, I don’t know any such person living at that spot. The idea was to bring everybody, as wide as possible, into the mix. And I did hear why not in specific papers but then we begin to see who and who not, so the Gazette being the official publication, nothing stops, as a public service, for the news media to grab this information: these people’s names are published. They live at that spot, they live at that spot – maybe they don’t; but somebody should know. And after they’ve [been] given, publish again that they have been given. It was an attempt to bring that broader transparency to the public, so that it was not some secret thing in the corner that some Minister signed and he runs away with it; but the whole public, the whole world should know. It was like marriage: banns of marriage are published, people know you’re getting married; births or deaths. That was the general idea.”


Eamon Courtenay, P.U.P. Senator

“But minister, with respect, this is of no use. If you put Won Hong Kim, sixteen Kiskadee Avenue, so what? Anybody looks at that in the Gazette, if they get the Gazette, what would they do?”


Godwin Hulse

“As I said, Senator: if somebody got it, if they got it, let us be more proactive in this nation: here is an Immigration issue, it can’t be that all of us are going to say it’s that one and that one and we don’t take an active part. So names are published, people know names are published, let’s say Channel Seven decides to publish them and somebody says, I live at so-and-so and nobody lives there, then they have a responsibility to call in.”


Eamon Courtenay

“Minister, the point is this: if I saw, Won Hong Kim, sixteen Kiskadee Avenue, and I went to the Immigration Department and I said I have a concern, would they hand me his file to review it?”


Godwin Hulse

“I don’t know if they would hand you his file.”


Eamon Courtenay

“The answer is no.”


Godwin Hulse

“But if you said I know he doesn’t live there, it would certainly get the attention of the Committee.”


Eamon Courtenay

“My point is this: why do you not publish Won Hong Kim, residing at such and such an address, recommended by Elvin Penner, coming from China, living in Belize for five years, and give the full details of the person including who is recommending him, and saying to people that if you have some information, pass it in. if you wish more information, contact the Director. Publish so that we know: these names that appear over and over and over as recommenders, people will then see that there is a cartel in operation. When you have Ministers involved, you will see Ministers’ names over and over, whereas pointing somebody’s name and address is of no assistance to anyone.”


Godwin Hulse

“I have no difficulty with that, Senator; it is an advancement on the law and I would support it.”

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