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Nov 1, 2013

3 amendments tabled in the house on immigration

Dean Barrow

Prime Minister Dean Barrow will be leaving over the weekend for medical treatment in the United States, but this morning, he faced a firestorm in respect of the recent passport and visa scandals that have rocked the Ministry of Immigration and Nationality and have shaken his Administration to the core. A number of bills came up, but the scandals took centre stage this morning when the House of Representatives met in Belmopan with both sides throwing jabs at each other over the issue.  We start with the introduction of three bills to amend the Immigration Act as it pertains to passport and visa controls.  The three amendments, including the Immigration Amendment Bill, the Belizean Nationality Amendment Bill and the Passport Amendment Bill were tabled in the wake of the passport scandal involving former Minister of State Elvin Penner and there is the allegation of a visa hustle involving the minister of state, Edmund Castro.  The measures, according to Prime Minister Dean Barrow, are an effort to improve the existing system in order to make it as foolproof as possible.  To do so, a committee will be established to vet the issuance of permanent residency permits.

 

Dean Barrow

“Mr. Speaker I rise to introduce a bill for an act to amend the Immigration Act Chapter 156 of the Substantive Laws of Belize, Revised Edition 2002/2003.  In relation to permanent residency and the issue of visas and to provide for matters therewith and incidental thereto.  Mr. Speaker in view of recent developments the government had, a couple weeks ago, announced its intention to introduce changes to the law dealing with the whole subject of immigration and nationality.  This is the first of three bills we will be introducing today to give effect to the government’s effort to reform the system and to make the procedures as failsafe as possible.  With respect to this first bill the Immigration Bill, the amendments include the addition of a new section covering the issuance of permanent residency permits.  Most importantly it provides for a visa vetting committee which will consist of the CEO in the ministry responsible for immigration, the CEO in the Ministry of Human Development, the CEO in the ministry responsible for national security and the Director of Immigration and Nationality Services.  Previously, the approval of visa applications and the directive to issue the visas rested exclusively with the Director of Immigration and Nationality.  So now there is a committee again with a view to try to ensure that a more robust safeguard is in place in order to try to deal with applications for visas that might not meet the requirements.  So this committee then is charged with the responsibility of reviewing and approving the application of visas and the committee will look at applications from nationals of any country or every country in respect of which a visa will be required under the act.  The Director of Immigration and Nationality or any other consular officer shall not grant a visa to any person without the approval of this committee.”

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5 Responses for “3 amendments tabled in the house on immigration”

  1. screw Beano says:

    Deano,

    you are a joke. Your meds have taken your mind. Little too late.

    You might have been able to stave off the collapse of your government if you had pushed for a bipartisan national inquiry.

    But your ship of rats is sinking, and soon they will be wanting to cut deals to avoid prison.

    Fortunately for you, medical care in Hattieville is the finest in the world, convalescence will give you plenty of time for rehab.

  2. Rod says:

    You and your thieving ministers need to go judas barrow guan guan you all must be locked up in jail for treason .

  3. Al Rich says:

    He is leaving for the US to seek treatment again. He does not even trust the doctors in Belize to treat him. The poor people who need decent medical care either cure themselves or die because they cannot afford to get to the US.

    It has been a pattern that whenever there is a crisis in the country the PM bails out of the country and goes to the US. So glad the people are sending a message.

  4. Orlando says:

    Why is he coming to the U.S. for treatment? he should go to K.H.M.H. if he believe in them, but again that place is for poor people and they use it as a slaughter house and a place where they practice.

  5. bzeacyo says:

    This will intern make it easier for the next GOB to hustle. They will put there poised and most trusted people as CEO’s to be in that committee headed by the Minister then to do the dealings better.

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