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Jan 13, 2012

Over 500 sworn in as new Belizeans, today only

With the countdown to the March elections and early general elections, a mass naturalization exercise is taking place. The allegation has been due process is not being followed in the rush before the elections and earlier this week an Orange Walk resident disclosed that her house address had been fraudulently used. This morning at the Immigration Department in Belmopan, over five hundred persons were processed before heading to the George Price Center to be sworn in as full-fledged Belizeans. The majority were Central American nationals who could not speak English. Our cameras were not allowed at the Immigration Department nor the George Price Center but News Five’s Isani Cayetano spoke to some of the would-be Belizeans.

Isani Cayetano, Reporting

A sea of immigrants representing a diversity of races, ethnicities and religious beliefs descended upon the Immigration and Nationality Department in Belmopan today.  For them it was a last minute effort to become citizens of Belize.  Hundreds of men, women and children braved the oppressive, mid-morning heat as they stood in line waiting for their names to be called in order to complete the tedious process of naturalization.  Among them is Nigerian-born Francisca Achilefu.

Francisca Achilefu

Francisca Achilefu, Applicant for Belizean Citizenship

“You have to provide a proof of continuous stay in Belize for a period of five years to qualify to apply for the citizenship and nationality and that is actually what I have done. Nothing other than that.”

Isani Cayetano

“My understanding is that you had to take a series of tests as well. Can you speak to us on what it entails, the contents of the examinations and what your performance was?”

Francisca Achilefu

“Ok let me start from the medical tests. You have to go through a series of medical tests like: HIV test, VDI tests; for syphilis or gonorrhea and some require an extra test. Then after that you submit all your completed application forms and they’ll give you a date for your interviews—which is the written interview and the oral one.”

Making the journey all the way from San Pedro is a family of five.  While the children were born in Belize the parents of a primary school teacher who chose to remain anonymous migrated to the Jewel in the late seventies.  It is only now that they are applying for citizenship.

Voice of: Resident, San Pedro

“I guess they have been doing it from a long time ago, but I guess my dad he seems to not really worry about the papers. I guess now this opportunity came along and that’s the reason I guess why they are taking that advantage.”

According to Achilefu, the questions asked during the written part of the examination revolved around her knowledge of the country.  She scored ninety-five percent out of a hundred points.

Francisca Achilefu

“Basically they were just general questions about Belize, current affairs, history of Belize. All the questions were pertinent to Belize as a whole.”

Isani Cayetano

“And what was your performance like?”

Francisca Achilefu

“Excellent. Twenty questions and I made nineteen out of the twenty questions.”

The snaking queue outside the office, despite the overwhelming number of people gathered here, is meant to be an expeditious process.  Ordinarily it is a painstaking series of action which can take months before completion.

Voice of: Resident, San Pedro

“At first, my dad and my mom had applied a long time ago. Since both of them applied together. And I can remember like three years ago, they called them for an interview, but I guess my dad is not that person who really wants paper. My mom came, but she couldn’t do the interview cause my dad was not with her.”

Isani Cayetano

“How do they get by in terms of living in Belize, working in Belize, accessing health care and all those stuff which require legal documents? How do they get by without proper citizenship as Belizeans.”

Voice of: Resident, San Pedro

“Well I guess they don’t really…really and truly my mom doesn’t really get sick or my dad and even if they get sick or something like that, we are the ones that provide. My dad had a social number—he has a social number but he doesn’t have the card.”

For Alexis Mejia, who has just sworn in as a Belizean citizen, it is a dream come true.  He migrated from Honduras in the year 2000.  When asked if the promptness of his of naturalization was politically motivated he chose not to answer.

Alexis Mejia, Newly Sworn In Belizean

“I’ve been here for over twelve years; I have five children in Placencia—Seine Bitte Village actually. I have applied for this nationality for over three years. I just get through and I’m very happy about it.”

Isani Cayetano

“What was the process of swearing in like? What is it like now that you are a full fledged Belizean?”

Alexis Mejia
“It feels good. Knowing that I am already here, I am already part of this country—it feels good.”

Isani Cayetano

“You know that this is a election year—there is both municipal and town council and there is also general elections possibly to be held in 2012. In terms of the constituency or the area which you will be registering for, where are you situated?”

Alexis Mejia
“Well, it is really hard to answer that question right now?”

Isani Cayetano

“Are you in Melvin Hulse’s constituency? Which area are you/”

Alexis Mejia
“Maybe Melvin Hulse, I don’t know. I don’t wanna answer your question right now.”

Earlier this week the process of applying for naturalization sparked controversy when it was discovered that the addresses of several residents in Orange Walk Town were being used duplicitously.  It also believed that the current exercise is being used to pad the voters list in the upcoming elections. Reporting for News Five, I am Isani Cayetano.

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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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9 Responses for “Over 500 sworn in as new Belizeans, today only”

  1. Demetrios Fauskein says:

    All the above is only garbage trying to cover up the selling of a nation.
    WHAT A !&**!@# SHAME !!!
    PLACING ALIENS ABOVE US JUST FOR A !*%&!@# VOTE.
    I FEEL SO DISCOURAGED , WHAT A STUPID GOV WE HAVE NOW!!!!
    AND THOSE !@#$%^& PEOPLE NEED TO EAT , AND EAT THEY WILL BY GOOD OR BAD !!!
    THEY WILL TAKE OUR JOBS OR USE GUNS TO FIND A LIVING!!!
    WHO KNOWS WHAT BEASTS , MONSTERS ARE BEING NATIONALIZED !!!
    WE MUST LIVE WITH THAT , ALL FOR A !%*&^%!@# VOTE, BARROW !!!!

  2. MAGABUAY says:

    !@#$ you demetrios, people are people, one world dickhead

  3. Earl Grey says:

    AT LEAST …we have a TAX BASE!!!

  4. WESTERNMERMAID says:

    AFTER READING THESE COMMENTS, I WONDER IF THIS IS HOW AMERICANS FEELS ABOUT OUR BELIZEAN PEOPLE IN THE U.S.A WHEN THEY APPLY FOR GREEN CARD????

    I IMAGINE HOW THEY MUST BE SO ANGRY LIKE DEMETRIOS FRANKEISTIEN, I IMAGINE THEY CALL US BLACK PEOPLE ALL KIND OF NAMES.

    I WONDER!!!!!

  5. Concerned says:

    Yes they do westernmermaid, they call us nI@@ars and all kinda thing, infact it is white supremacy that wants a wall built by Mexican border, not the immigrants living there! It is bzns choice to go to the US and get a green card, when they couldve stayed home and build belize.

    Fact: When you work, your employer makes a profit from your work. That is how they can pay you. So when belizeans work n the US, America profits, Belize only gets back what the Bzns send home, if they come home. But Belize loses a lot of production when Bzns work there and not at home. Stay home and build you country!

  6. belizeanpride says:

    exactly WESTERNMERMAID i agree, that they get nationalized BUT with the formal legal procedure with paper work as a norm. not like giving them before going through the legal way. i know many hard working immigrants getting theirs after waiting for 3 to 4 yrs of waiting for it. so it is a way of amnesty but hoping that behind it others don’t use it for a easy (political purpose) way as it looks. there are Belizeans in the U.S that are doing the same applying hoping for the IMMIGRATION DREAM ACT to take place so they can be legal. look at the immigrants they are the hard working people in the fields growing vegetables which hardly a Belizean would be doing nowadays. talking about crime look at the stats, rarely you’ll see an immigrants involved in crime, mostly down south but the rest of the country mainly the city they are not immigrants killing, thiefing, home invasion but the fact is Belizeans that are lazy to work are doing it. So IF really this people are applying legally lets give them the chance to see a future for the counrty in a general with them contributing with the tax payers, with the growth of the economy and not dissing them like trash, this mass nationalization was also done by the PUP so why all the hate. i don’t trust known of the both party’s but let the people live legally.

  7. Immigrant says:

    Dometrios what a moron and a ignorant person you are… check the statistics and see who are the people committing the crimes right now.. who are killing each other… and don’t bring any bull about taking jobs… everyone in this country as long as they are hardworking is entitled for a better life…

  8. immigrant says:

    okay people !humans are humans all in one stop acting selfish about what is happening .no one is taking other ppl jobs .im well educated although had 2 pass through ppl like u.belizeans had mre rites than us but here i am proud of my self serving Belize .

  9. nightofstars says:

    In the United States, worry over loss of jobs is real because the nation is suffering jobs for it’s own people right now. And, health care costs are going to be deducted by force from pay checks. But, white supremacy, racism, things like that are limited to the ignorant uninformed in the United States. I believe white supremacist are cold and cruel. There are those of us that are kind and merciful to all people and their needs, and know making a living and caring for your children is very hard, no matter who you are or what country you’re in. The United States has big government and the processes are a lot to deal with. The impersonal nature of United States government can be daunting, a hardship, because it is an operation out of touch with the real way things are for the people in the United States. There is not a job for every single person in this country, the United States, yet, all people must now depend on the stores for their food. If there are not jobs, there is not food, so there is not a good health and good rest for everyone. I think each country needs to have limits on how many people they let arrive and stay due to limited resources of each country. There’s suffering involved in the arrival of some people to the United States. Without citizenship they don’t have health care for theirselves or children, food, money, things like that. So, for the safety of those families and children from other countries controlling citizen ship is a healthy thing to do, but it hasn’t been done right. What other countries may not realize is that there are millions of United States Citizen’s that do not have those things everyone needs either, like food, money, health care, and they too die because they don’t have health care. One medical emergency in the United States is all it takes to die here. When my son got sick last year, I feared I would have to drive him across 5 states for a medical emergency to care for him at a clinic we could get care from, the removal of his appendix. That is a sickness you can die from if the appendix ruptures. It was a wake up call for me that people who do not have health care can die very easily. Most here do not have health care. If my son’s appendix would have ruptured during the drive, he would be possibly dead. It worked out though when it was discovered eventually it was not his appendix in trouble.

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