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Jan 15, 2020

Godwin Hulse: Immigration Processing is ‘Inviolable’

Last week, U.D.P. standard bearer Dianne Finnegan collected documents from hundreds of immigrants at her political office on Partridge Street in the Lake Independence division of Belize City. She claimed that the documents were to be presented to the Minister of State for Immigration, Beverly Williams, at a meeting held on January thirteenth. But the minister was a no-show and the documents were not presented to C.E.O. Edmond Zuniga or any of the two directors who were at the Swift Hall meeting. Today, substantive Immigration Minister Godwin Hulse was asked about the legality of Finnegan’s actions, given that the processing of immigration documents is to be done at the respective offices across the country. He says the protocols put in place back in January 2014 are “inviolable.”


Godwin Hulse

Godwin Hulse, Minister of Immigration

“It doesn’t matter which standard bearer or agent decides they are going to help people to procure their nationality, the process cannot change and this is the process. In January the sixth of 2014, we signed into law the nationality committee. The nationality committee is not a government committee; it is made up of government officials and private sector, social partners. The chamber sits, the church sits and the union sits on it; it is co-chaired by them. The process is very clear, anybody who wants to acquire Belize nationality by registration or marriage must first meet certain requirements. Those requirements are included in their application. Their names are published first in the gazette. You in the media can go and see who all’s names were published. After it is published, then it goes to the committee. The committee scrutinizes it in detail to see whether they qualify. If the committee says they qualify, the name is published again in the gazette to say they qualify, then the minister signs the certificate. The minister cannot sign the certificate before. It is not done there, then they go to a public swearing in where the public and the media is invited. So five hundred people could be out there, they still have to go through that process.  And it is only when they have completed that process and sworn in and made a citizen of Belize, then they can register as a voter and vote. So that system cannot change; it has been built in law. There are lots of safeguards. So yes, the perspective and outlook is, “Oh, deh di…,” but it can’t happen. And if anybody knows that it is happening, if you the public know of anybody who is being given any nationality without having gone through that process, it is a serious offense and the penalties are severe. You can have up to fifteen years in jail and fifty thousand-dollar fine. So please. Politicians will try to help anybody; it doesn’t mean that they can force the system through or bypass any ah the mechanisms.”

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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