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Oct 26, 2012

Passport Office in Belize City remained closed

A number of concerns have been raised by Belize City residents since the processing of passport applications was transferred to Belmopan a few weeks ago.  The move by the Immigration and Nationality Department comes in the aftermath of a recent passport scandal involving suspected members of the Islamic militant group, Hezbollah.  In an attempt to meticulously supervise the process, production of passports has been relocated to the capital city.  Among the concerns raised is the duration of the process.  It has been disclosed that the processing in the City office had been compromised by someone working there who was facilitating irregular applications. There are no details at this time of how deep and extensive the irregularities have been. But News Five understands that an extension from twelve days to approximately three weeks has been implemented for standard passport processing and that emergency cases can also only be dealt with Belmopan.  Expediting the process, in the event of an emergency, can only be done in Belmopan.  Meanwhile, Senior Immigration Officer Gilroy Guzman, we are told, remains on probation pending a decision whether or not he will be transferred to another government department or terminated from his post.  The passport scandal involving Justin George Abdalah Elders and Yasser Safa, Belizeans of Lebanese descent, believed to be linked to Hezbollah, was unraveled in September, following reports from U.S. intelligence that both men were being pursued as part of a group of terrorists.  It was subsequently confirmed that Guzman, in his capacity as acting supervisor, approved the issuance of a Belizean passport to Rafik Mohammed Labboun Allaboun, another suspected terrorist, who was nabbed in Merida during a police raid.  Allaboun obtained an official travel document from the Immigration Department without valid proof of a Belizean social security card or voter’s identification.

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13 Responses for “Passport Office in Belize City remained closed”

  1. Diana says:

    I am so happy that someone has finally caught on to how corrupt that office is, I left the country as a child. I am now a U.S citizen, my memories of Belize are not so good. I remember when I went to the office with my mother, she walked out crying, she was missing all her jewelry. The following day we had to return back with more jewelry. That is how we were given our visa. Since that incident, I have not trust Belizeans. I have never been back to the country and have no desire to. I do not associate with Belizeans, I have heard so many stories growing up about how corrupt everyone is. It is like crabs in a barrel, no-one can get ahead because they are all pulling each other down to get to the top. You have people that have been deported from the states for murder and drugs and then have government jobs there. An people wonder why the place is corrupt. It saddens me that I am scared to visit my birthplace because the people terrify me. Please don’t think I am saying all Belizeans are corrupt, but the few bad apples have spoiled the barrel, and their are more bad apples than good. This is my personal opinion .

  2. P. Griffith says:

    I am happy that this incident was discovered as we do not want our country to be the one that assist these terrorist in there evil of killing innocent people. The ones that played a part in assisting them in obtaining passports should be indicted. We should not allow these murderers to use our country as a means to spread terror. However, there is corruption everywhere and not just to Belizeans. Diana, I am sorry to hear about your experience but that does not give you the right to accuse all Belizeans of being corrupted. (yea you said it) Despite the corruption there are thousands of honest, hardworking Belizeans who are trustworthy and you should not let this incident make you feel that Belizeans are not to be trusted. I don’t like the direction my country is going and I don’t live there anymore. However, I am proud to call myself Belizean and I love my people!!!!!!!

  3. Farid says:

    Diana, yuh better hope Uncle Sam no tun he @$$ on you. Ah hope yuh know when they ready fe kick you out da right da Belize ( my Jewel) yh @$$ going. You will want to associate with Belizeans then.

  4. Al says:

    It should not be so hard to find out which employee sold passport. How many people had access to the Passports. It there were procedures in place to track all movements of the Passports from the vault to the processing, there would be a trail. I keep offering to help with setting up procedures to help with the security factor for accoutning for the dispensing of the passport.

  5. Storm says:

    Farid, the good news for Diana is that she is a U.S. citizen now, she can’t be “kicked out.”

    But she has a good point — the corruption in almost every government office at every level and the violence [remember, we are #5 in the world for murder, and that list includes Syrian and Lebanon] have taken most of the shine off the Jewel. And that doesn’t take into account the growing poverty.

    Diana didn’t go bad. Belize did.

  6. leon leon says:

    Every where we go, there is corruption. When the “white-collar criminals” are among the innocent, that makes anger boils among people.The person who seems to have been identified for facilitating irregular applications in connection with the passports should have been sitting in his cell long ago…accused, available evidence, witnesses – guilty – then what?
    Sad to hear about the unpleasant memories of Belize. To be fair, we cannot condemn Belizeans because of the few corrupted ones. That’s just not right. If we were to say all Americans are bad because of the disgusting crime Jared Lee Loughner carried out in Arizona, January 8, 2011, that would not be fair. No, that’s not fair.


    TO: Diana, well your mother is an @$, to put it so for giving up her jewelry or so you claim. whether you are american citizen or not, you will be Belizean, only your passport has changed. and you still associate with Belizeans, since you continuously read the news it seems, your roots are within Belize and will alwayz remain so. dont be making an @$$ of yourself. You should be thankful that Uncle Sam took you in as one of lost crab from out of the barrel. Hopefully you wont get crushed. From reading the news, worldwide, corruption is all over the globe. so dont be putting down the land of your birth. Peace out@!

  8. rubs says:

    for sure Senior Immigration Officer Gilroy Guzman doesn’t care if he’s transferred to belmopan or gets terminated. He must have billions of US DOLLARS in sweden, cuba etc. wowow, let the us CIA etc investigate deeply into his accounts, properties & rest off families…. i want a job like that so i can go back home PLEASE LET ME KNOW IF A FRAUD VACANCY IS AVAILABLE…. I’M WONDERING WHAT KINDA VEHICLE THAT FRAUD GUZMAN IS DRIVING?

  9. deedee says:

    @Diana……… jewelry for passport??? Your “bad memories” just a’int making sense, I’ve seen average or ordinary people go in for their passport with no problem at all. You claim that your mother had to give all her jewelry the first day, then went back again the following day & gave more, as someone previously said she’s a damm @$$. The first time she went in & they took her jewelry she should have made a report to the police or someone in high command about the corrupt officer/s who was dealing with her application, but this jewlry for passport story is according to you right???. You talk as if Belize is the worst of the worst, denouncing your place of birth, no association with the culture etc, Corruption is all over the world including your AMERICA who has done so much worse but the world will never know because they are good at secrecy & hiding things, so before you go off criticizing someone else’s home (BELIZE) look at your damm one first (AMERICA)

  10. pieces says:

    @ Diana y was ur mom seeking a VISA at d passport office?

  11. huh?? says:

    @Diana: First of all, your memory is screwed up: The immigration dept does NOT issue visas. If you used your jewelry to get visas, then that was from the US embassy, which would imply that the corruption is not only limited to Belize. Second of all, if you’ve never come back, how can you make these assertions of what goes on here?

  12. SPH says:

    @Diana, the passport application is different from the visa application. Be mindful that visas are given by the US consul and issued by Americans. Belizean passports are completely unrelated to visas. Not defending the extortion but know who you are talking about. And a negative visa experience is not a blanket excuse for your not so good memories. It is clear from your statement that you have no experience of Belize or its people and no loyalty to Belize or its people. You are making naive judgments based on second hand information. If you for a second imagine that people in the U.S are any less prone to corruption and criminal behavior, you are sadly mistaken. American anonymity is protective. The only thing that makes corruption in Belize known is that it is a small country and everybody knows everybody and few secrets exist. There are many honorable people in Belize who have principles and morals and don’t pander to the lowest common denominator.

    Corruption exists because people in Belize are desperate. Few people make a living wage and the growing costs increase faster than there is a legitimate way to afford it. It’s the same desperation that makes lives worthless and THINGS more important than people.

  13. JJ says:

    I just like how people are setting this “Diana” character and her comment straight! Right bloody on!! I read that comment and was like what the heck!!!

    I mean no disrespect, but simply courteous indignation for someone who speaks so ill of my country! Ah noh wah put up wid it!!! None tall. Cho man!

    Corruption is rampant worldwide. Belize and US and other country is not immune! I can only suspect it exist because some people are just scrupulous by their own nature or they are easily bribed or that they are just plain stupid!!!!

    We got issues to fix in Belize though!!

    This passport business is a serious matter; such a case threatens to sovereign right of us law-abiding Belizeans to travel freely around the world without the risk of being blacklisted as threats or rudely questioned and scrutinized! Shame on these people from the passport office or the government who encourage and facilitate this threat to our national dignity as Belizeans.

    This is not the first time, nor the second time or the third time, we hear of such immigration scandals. These people dispense of our birthright as Belizeans and our dignity with no regard!!! HOW CAN THEY BE SELF RESPECTING BELIZEANS!!! I call for serious independent investigations and convictions of these people! CHO MAN!

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