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Apr 14, 2023

Minister Dolores on Human Trafficking in the Caribbean

Minister of Human Development, Dolores Balderamos-Garcia also chimed in on the implementation of a visa requirement for Haitian nationals. The Briceño administration has reported that there is a trend which indicates that persons are transiting through Belize to the United States and that government is invoking a clause within the Treaty of Chaguaramas to impose the visa requirement. Minister Balderamos Garcia says sums it up to human trafficking and the need to stem this criminal activity.


Dolores Balderamos-Garcia

Dolores Balderamos-Garcia, Minister of Human Development

“There is a very thin line between smuggling and trafficking. The definition of smuggling would be you are moving people for a fee. Now trafficking is where you involve any aspect of exploitation, so I would want to say that there is trafficking going on because if you are charging people thousands and tens of thousands of dollars to go illegally into the United States and there is no guarantee and it is an international ring of that kind of people movement, there has to be human trafficking involved. And my own input, because the prime minister has spoken to it and also the Minister of Agriculture, my own input is that where there is exploitation of people, we have a responsibility as a government to act. Now with the CARICOM rules of free movement, we have to invoke one of the clauses of the Treaty of Chaguaramas to make sure that we impose a visa requirement for Haitians because the vast majority of people being moved are Haitians. I think the leader of the opposition must know that where the kind of numbers of CARICOM nationals are being moved through Belize and they come in legally and then they disappear. What? They disappear into thin air? No, we know what is happening and so we have to act. And even though there is the principle of free movement of nationals throughout CARICOM, the news that we have for the leader of the opposition is that he has to wake up and smell the coffee of what is happening so that we don’t participate in this kind of human trafficking, as I have called it.”

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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