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Jul 9, 2018

Immigration Minister Addresses BUFERHD’s distress

Godwin Hulse

Another bone of contention relates to naturalized Guatemalans who are allowed to re-register and vote.  The group says that allowing them to so do is in violation of the constitution of Belize. Minister Godwin Hulse also commented on that matter.

 

Godwin Hulse, Minister of Immigration

“With respect to registering people who were former Guatemalan citizens, we have to be clear as well. There are four ways to become a citizen. One is to be born in the country. One is to be born of parents who are citizens of the country. One is to marry a citizen in the country and the other one is to live here for a while. There are many persons who were born in Guatemalan but to Belizean parents because they were born in Melchor, and other places people use to go cross there, especially from Benque. Those people are Belizeans. You can’t do anything about that. Some of them do not even speak Spanish. Same thing with Mexico, people born in Chetumal. They are Belizeans, man. Then you have those Guatemalans who came here and had baby here. Those children are also Belizeans even though their parents are Guatemalans. You cannot do much about that. Then you have those who are married. Those ones are the ones who would have to have the renunciation and also those who have registered after five years. In the past, and let us be clear this is both governments, the policy and the practice was to have these people sign a renunciation, surrender their documents and it was delivered to the Guatemalan Embassy that accepted it. The Guatemalan Embassy is an extension of their country and a representation of their country. There was never any objection. So that process was working quite well. The new government, sometime couple years ago, decided they will have to apply directly. That is their new policy. So they are no longer accepting these documents. Well, in that case the people can only remain as permanent residents. But what do you with those thousands of people who have gone through a process that was properly legitimized and accepted. I hear that there will be some challenges. Everybody in this country is free to challenge in court. We will see how that will go.”

 

For now, Guatemalans applying for citizenship to the Nationality Vetting Committee are on hold.

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