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Jul 12, 2017

Rene Montero Addresses Recommendations He Made to Immigration

Rene Montero

Now back to the senate hearings….This afternoon, Minister Rene Montero was questioned about his letter asking the Department to facilitate persons who wished to be sworn in as Belizeans by January tenth of 2012, mere weeks before the general elections held that year. Earlier, then-Director of Immigration Ruth Meighan admitted that the Department rushed thousands of applications for nationality brought by Ministers and others in marginal constituencies, especially Elvin Penner’s Cayo Northeast, but also in safer constituencies like Erwin Contreras’ Cayo West. Cayo Central was also fairly close


Aldo Salazar, Chair, Senate Special Select Committee

“What did you mean in the letter when you said ‘please facilitate me with the following nationalities’ – since she seems uncertain as to what you meant; can you clarify for us, please?”


Rene Montero, Minister of Works

“But before we move to the word facilitate, I think we should explore the meaning of ‘please.’ Please means basically asking someone to consider my request, and it is essentially asking a question, it is not a command, and it is not saying that they must consider my request. And to facilitate means asking for assistance for these nationality documents; facilitate means to ask assistance.”


Aldo Salazar

“So your testimony is that what you meant there was that you were asking for assistance and not giving instructions for anybody to follow.”


Rene Montero

“No, I was just making a request. And at no time did I infer that they shouldn’t follow the vetting process or that they should proceed with incomplete applications; at no time did I infer that or alluded to that. It was simply a request to facilitate.”


Aldo Salazar

“Would this be something – these requests to facilitate – would this be something that you would do…was it an isolated instance or something you did [regularly?] For example, this morning we heard from Minister Heredia who said he did this on behalf of his constituents, to assist them; can you say whether this was an isolated incident or was this something of a practice from your office?”


Rene Montero

“In my case, it was an isolated incident. It was made because my office – at that time I was at Ministry of Agriculture – received a call from Immigration; my secretary received that call. She came to me and told me, ‘Minister, Immigration called; and they said that there will be a swearing-in ceremony anytime soon,’ and that applications for nationality for several of my constituents were ready. And she further told me that the Immigration told her that if I wrote a letter requesting these several nationalities, then it would have been processed.”

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 “Rene Montero Addresses Recommendations He Made to Immigration”

  1. Marie says:

    This is nothing about people wanting to become citizens immediately but about your greed for satisfaction of power that you know could easily be obtained from them voting for you. No monister or high official should be rushing passort or immigration papers.

  2. Annie says:

    Mr: The government can do anything it wants, the government can take away your land, the government can say please facilitate me with these nationalities while forgetting its the government for the people, by the people. I bet he is say how dare they question me about this. In the end nothing will come of it. Its about power hungry self interest.

  3. Uncle Beji says:

    I think we should explore the meaning of “fortunate.”

    Visiting Houston, TX, I was “fortunate” to meet Belizeans from the Cayo district that reside in that hot as hell Texan city. These Belizeans were bragging about being “fortunate” to call up their brother in Belize and acquire raw land. “Fortunate” enough to have their brother acquire real estate holdings in Texas, which they managed.

    Wanting to get in on the action, I asked them if they could “facilitate” a meeting with their brother upon my return to Belize, and make me “fortunate”. They said no, because their brother was busy taking care of the Belizean need for better infrastructure.

    Wow! Fortunate men.

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