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Mar 12, 2014

Attorney says allegations against Sharon Neal in immigration scandal were groundless

Andrea McSweaney-McKoy

As we’ve told you, the three passport officers whose names were dragged through the mud of public scrutiny in the immigration scandal have been exonerated by the Services Commission. Despite a recommendation for termination by Director of Immigration Maria Marin, Sharon Neal, Omar Phillips and Erwin Robinson received only reprimands for what was referred to as minor procedural errors. None of those officers are speaking out, but today News Five spoke to attorney for Sharon Neal Andrea McSweaney-McKoy. She told us that from the onset she firmly believed that the six allegations against her client were groundless. Furthermore, she points out that three of the allegations were based on lack of scrutiny of Won Hong Kim’s foreign passport…when a memo from no less than Director Maria Marin contradicted those allegations and cleared her client.


Via Phone: Andrea McSweaney-McKoy, Attorney for Sharon Neal

“My impression Miss Flowers is one of those upstanding public officers. Even in her dealing with me I felt that that was clear. I also felt in her initial instruction that the circumstances around which she was suspended; she was called to a room and spoke along with the director and the other two young men who were accused and basically the two young men were asked questions in her presence. After that interview, she was suspended so I just felt that the whole thing was contrived and certainly the recommendation for her dismissal was really harsh.”


Mike Rudon

“Ma’am, several of the allegations centered around the foreign passport which was presented and there is mention in the report, a memo from the Director of Immigration, Maria Marin. Could you tell us what role that memo played in the allegations against Miss Neal Flowers?”


Via Phone: Andrea McSweaney-McKoy

“We were able to secure a copy of a memorandum dated nineteenth April 2013, shortly after the passport regulations had been passed, the amended one. In that memo, the Director instructed the officers to utilize only the Belize nationality certificate to process applications for a passport for persons who had nationality by registration. So that was the only document that was required. And we do feel that that became the most critical piece of evidence because they were three allegations centered around a supposed duty of by Misses Neal Flowers to compare the foreign passport with the present application that she had in her hand. And we are saying that this was not so and that the director ought to have disclosed this document to the commission in all fairness. But it was inequitable, in my view; that all aspects of the issue were not looked at. We had a valid nationality certificate and you have a memo that is timely in its own way saying okay this is all you need to focus on. Because if you look at the actual passport application form, it does state clearly that the foreign passport would be required. So there was a change in the process that came in April 2013 through this memo and now you are saying you can solely determine this application based on the nationality certificate. So it is unfair for you to say to Sharon Neal Flowers you should have looked passed that nationality certificate and you should have investigated a document that was originating from your own immigration department. And because you did not do so, you should be dismissed. That is unfair.”


As we’ve stated, Sharon Neal Flowers has been re-instated at the Immigration department, though the letter reinstating her has not provided a date on which she is to return to work.

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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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2 Responses for “Attorney says allegations against Sharon Neal in immigration scandal were groundless”

  1. sickntired says:

    I glad miss neal get cleared cause anybody weh know ah know that she work by the rules and mek exception when justifiable evedence get presented to ah. That de department chancey and treat da poor lady bad but thank goidness she soon retire. No worry miss neal – God di watch out fi you so walk good and be blessed sista.

  2. Elgin Martinez says:

    I would go far as saying that Maria Marin’s action was unwarranted and that all parties involved file a Lawsuit against the Immigration Department for defamation of character.

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