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Mar 13, 2018

Changes to Immigration Acts Bring Unease

Dean Barrow

Concerns have been raised about a trio of bills introduced by Prime Minister Dean Barrow in Friday’s House of Representatives meeting. The amendments to the Immigration, Belizean Nationality and Passports Acts, respectively, speak to dividing the functions related to immigration and nationality services and in the case of the Immigration Act, regularizing the use of the term used to describe the head of the government department responsible for immigration. Soon after the amendments were tabled, red flags went up in many quarters indicating that such a division could invite further mischief in a department already badly bruised by the 2011-2013 scandal discussed during last year’s Senate Special Select Committee public hearings. At those hearings, it was abundantly clear that the department had little in human resources to keep it functioning without taking into account existing bureaucracy. The Prime Minister made the introductions on Friday.

 

Prime Minister Dean Barrow

“Mr. Speaker, I rise to introduce a bill for an Act to amend the Immigration Act, chapter one-fifty-six of the Substantive Laws of Belize, Revised Edition 2011, to provide, as a companion measure to amendments to the Belizean Nationality Act [and the Passports Act] for the bifurcation of functions relating to immigration and nationality services; for regularizing the use of the term used to describe the head of the government department responsible for immigration; and to provide for matters connected therewith and incidental thereto. This bill has the recommendation of the Cabinet.”

 

The bills, read a first time, were sent to the National Security and Immigration Committee of the House for their examination, consideration and report.

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