Immigration bust at Blue House Bar in Ladyville
The Immigration Department continues to target ‘happy bars’ in Belize, racking up an impressive record of cases for immigration offences. Last week it was Temptation Hill, and today officers were back in court after a raid on the Blue House Bar in Ladyville early this morning. Inside the bar they found manager Dora Prado, a naturalized Belizean, and a Guatemalan waitress, Evelyn Jimenez, who could not present valid documentation allowing her to work. Prado appeared before Magistrate Leslie Hamilton and pleaded not guilty to employing a person not in possession of a temporary employment permit. She was offered bail in the sum of three thousand dollars, plus a surety in the same amount, and ordered to reappear in court on March fourteenth, 2014. Up to this afternoon, she hadn’t been able to come up with the money and was a guest at the Queen Street Police Station. If convicted, Prado is looking at jail time, since it is her second time before the magistrate for the same offence.
Three other persons also appeared before Magistrate Hamilton for immigration offences – forty year old Aristides Lopez, twenty-eight year old Jose Colindres and twenty year old Jose Gevara. Lopez, a Salvadoran national, was charged for failing to comply with the conditions of a visitor’s permit. His permit expired on October fourth, 2009, and he did not get an extension. Lopez pleaded guilty and was fined one thousand dollars. Honduran Jose Colindres was charged for employing Jose Gevara, who was not in possession of a work permit. He pleaded guilty and was also fined one thousand dollars. Honduran nation Jose Gevara, charged for working without valid documents, was given prohibited immigrant status. The court was unable to ascertain when he entered the country, so Gevara was fined one thousand dollars and a removal order was issued for his deportation. All three were unable to pay their fines and have been remanded to Belize Central Prison until they can do so.