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Mar 4, 2014

Attorney says Belize’s nationality cheapened by immigration scandal

On Tuesday’s newscast, News Five showed you three nationality certificates signed by former Minister of State Elvin Penner. We have been able to confirm that these documents were under scrutiny during the investigation which was halted by instructions from a so far unnamed person. Three persons – a Vietnamese national, a Taiwanese national and a Chinese national entered Belize on April tenth, 2013. A little over a month later, all three were given Belizean nationality. Penner signed those three documents, dated May eighteenth, 2013. It is damning evidence of Penner’s complicity in what has every appearance of unbridled corruption in immigration. Today attorney Audrey Matura-Shepherd claimed that our nationality has been cheapened by the insignificant attention given to offences like these.

 

Audrey Matura-Shepherd, Attorney

Audrey Matura-Shepherd

“Immediately I would say that that is cause for investigation, however, there is a statute of limitation. You cannot come in the country on April tenth and by May eighteenth you have nationality. It is impossible; the law has been violated and you would have to look into who did it. So given that we are seeing that this has become the norm and it keeps reoccurring and because there is a statute of limitation and clearly the officers they know that and they keep getting away with it, I think the bigger picture we need to look at is that it is time now for us to amend our laws as it pertains to criminality of violations of our nationality act and our passport act so that there is no longer this statute of limitation. Let it be just like any other criminal offense at large; that there is no limitation…so it noh matter if it is a hundred years from now, we convict yo, yo get convicted. And two; that it stops being a summary matter because it is like we are saying oh it’s just a passport violation…dah just a nationality violation. We have cheapened the value of our nationality which is our sense of identity and we’ve cheapened the value of our passport which is what allows us to move from our jurisdiction to anywhere else in the world. We’ve cheapened that and so we have to recognize that given the trend for past administration and the present one, we have to take it more serious that our nationality and our passport is worth more than that and those offenses should become felonies now. By the time you find out that something is wrong, the six months done pass and that cannot continue. They keep getting away with it for years and it has to end. So that would be to me what that is showing because we can go and investigate it and I could sit down here and say it is wrong, but what’s the teeth of the law? And then you have politicians who are so arrogant weh yo noh like weh I do, when elections come vote me out. But that still doesn’t clear the problem because the other set could come in and say well dehn neva do anything then so we could do it and then it just keeps reoccurring. So we the people have to take a different stance on it.”

 

We note that while these documents surfaced months ago during a police investigation, they remained hidden because of those infamous instructions.

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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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3 Responses for “Attorney says Belize’s nationality cheapened by immigration scandal”

  1. Ali BaBarrow, ring leader says:

    cheapened?

    One of Ali’s 40 can get $50,000 for a passport, that is up from a few years ago.

    All the serious criminals know Belize the best country to have a criminal passport, a gateway to the US, Canada, UK and EU, that all those Embassies seems to be unconcerned about. Pay enough and any extradition can be blocked. Even with Mello’s residency permit he is safe from Interpol.

  2. Elgin Martinez says:

    A foreighner can aquire Belizean Citizenship in a shorter period of time than it would take someone to receive an order of French Fries from a Chinese Restaurant.

  3. no kidding says:

    Wow! This attorney musta graduated toppa her class. Cheapen our nationality? you gotta be kiddin.

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