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Jan 19, 2022

Minister of Foreign Affairs Says Passengers Barred Entry is Serious Issue

A group of passengers coming off a Copa Airlines flight was barred from entering Belize through the Phillip Goldson International Airport on Tuesday.  Minister of Foreign Affairs Eamon Courtenay told News Five that they are still being processed for return to their country of origin.  While he did not disclose the specifics, he drew attention to the migration crisis in Central America, and the issue of human trafficking.  Minister Courtenay says the airline will be questioned.

 

Eamon Courtenay, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Foreign Trade and Immigration

“There are approximately thirty-seven persons who are there who were refused leave to land. They, for various reasons, I won’t get into that, but they do not satisfy the requirement for entry into Belize. They have been processed so that they can be returned from where they came. This is a matter that is of serious concern to us. As you are aware, there is a lot of movement of people. There is a lot of movement of people from Haiti, from Venezuela, from Nicaragua, from other countries, and we have been monitoring very carefully the flow of people in and out of Belize. Therefore, this particular flight had a significant number of people who did not satisfy the requirements for entry. We intend to have very serious discussions with the airline, very serious discussions with the authorities in Panama and other countries to ensure that what we are starting to detect will stop. I don’t want to get into details, it is early days, but I can tell you that those persons will not be allowed to remain in Belize, and there will be returned to where they came from.”

 

Eamon Courtenay

Paul Lopez

“Is there a concern that maybe there are a number of persons with their status that have actually been successful in gaining entrance to Belize?”

 

Eamon Courtenay

“I have no statistics that a number of persons have gained entrance into Belize. What I will say is that a number of Government agencies, Customs, Immigration, Police, etc. are working together to ensure that we try to anticipate, and working with international partners, the flow of persons who may be trafficked, being trafficked, or hold an interest in just using Belize as a point of departure to go elsewhere. We have been seeing the flow of people. We have been managing it, and in fact, I think, we have been fairly effective in trying to stem the flow of persons. But, this is something that is happening regionally.”


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