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Sep 27, 2013

Prime Minister responds to concerns about the investigation into passport scandal

The House of Representatives met today in Belmopan where a number of laws, including the High Seas Fishing and Medical Practice bills, were tabled.  The introduction of the former legislation is to make new and improved conditions for the management and control of fishing in the open sea.  Likewise, the presentation of the Medical Practice Bill seeks to maintain control and regulation of the practice of medicine in Belize.  While the Orders of the Day were all met, the climax of the sitting was the prime minister’s response to questions posed by the Leader of the Opposition concerning the recent passport scandal involving former Minister of State Elvin Penner.  His seat, as the representative for the Cayo Northeast constituency, was conspicuously empty and the disgraced politician was nowhere in sight.  Despite the fact that recommendations have been made for the suspension of three public officers attached to the Immigration and Nationality Department, believed to have been involved in facilitating the process of issuing a Belizean passport to incarcerated South Korean national Kim Wonhong, investigations into the matter seem to be focused solely on one area of the department.  Furthermore, since announcing Penner’s dismissal last Thursday, P.M. Barrow has remained somewhat tightlipped on the matter until today when he addressed the concerns raised.


Dean Barrow

Prime Minister Dean Barrow

“I did not talk sir, I acted. After we put out a statement making it clear that the Minister of State in the Ministry of Immigration had been required to resign, in effect had been dismissed, I had several text messages from the media and I made clear that I would refrain from further comment because the investigation that would then look at the possible involvement of public officers was proceeding.  And I certainly didn’t want to say or do anything that could prejudice that investigation.  There’s a clear division of labor, there’s a clear division of responsibility isn’t there Mr. Speaker.  The Minister of State is my responsibility.  He’s a member or was a member of the Cabinet, I am the head of the Cabinet and so I needed to deal with him and that I did immediately.  The public officers are for the Public Services Commission, the Ministry of the Public Service and the immigration ministry to deal with under the rules and regulations governing the public service and under the Constitution of Belize.  Why, in terms of the investigation and the suspensions that have occurred, why is it that all three of the officials suspended come from the passport section of the ministry, of the department and not from the nationality section?  Well you see, in terms of the passport section, honorable Penner could not have, as it were, signed the documentation in the passport office that provided for the issue of that passport.  Whatever honorable Penner’s involvement was, and I will come to that, ultimately the people in the passport section had the duty to ensure that everything was in order, to ensure that the applicant for that passport appeared in front of them and had his picture taken.  No minister had any authority to override those requirements.”

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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7 Responses for “Prime Minister responds to concerns about the investigation into passport scandal”

  1. take a Beano then a dump says:

    Beano your logic stinks.

    which is it?
    >He’s a member or was a member of the Cabinet,
    >had been required to resign, in effect had been dismissed
    >honorable Penner???
    honorable UDP, what a specious use of the word. what a specious political party

    lawyers who talk a lot and say nothing become PM of Belize.
    So Mello and Kim need to get the law degrees to fill your shoes, then orate bull….

    how is the SIF scandal investigation going?
    how is the Hezbollah passport investigation going?
    how is the rosewood scandal investigation going?
    how is the Maya land rights GOB contempt of court going?
    how are the freezone scandals going?
    how is the drunk BDF soldiers investigation going?
    how re the oil scandals going?
    how are the kickback investigations going?
    how are the land seizure scandal investigations going?
    how is that cruise ship scandal going?
    illegal seizure of BTL and BEL GOB contempt of court?
    stolen police equipment donated by the US, 50% missing?
    Xunatunich- contreras scandal?
    superbond economic scandal?

    this is useless talking to a herd of stupid criminals.

    you got so many internal investigations going on, it is obvious the only investigation is which color of paint to use in the whitewash. gloss, matte, or transparent black.

    is there anything that UDP touches, not corrupt or not hopelessly screwed up?
    I can not think of one thing your administration has done that is not a scam one way the other.

  2. Rod says:

    Judas barrow your legacy will be that you were the biggest thief in the history of this country you and your ministers a bunch of plain old thieves .

  3. belizebelize says:

    all Belizeans should read the article below: Belize Immigration Smuggling and Corruption

    Belize Consultant has been following this latest Visa scandal at the Immigration Department. Our inside governmental sources that leaks confidential information have given us all the details on the matter , and we here at (BC) will put the information at hand to all social partners and media so that the facts are presented and those involved in the visa corruption be exposed.

    And the inside story goes like This:

    The reason why the previous Immigration Director Ruth Meighan was transferred abruptly: At the immigration department under the UDP government there is specific Ministers that are involved with Human Trafficking (visas) and the sale of Nationality, they are Hon. Elvin Penner, Hon. John Saldivar, Hon. Erwin Contreras. These three Ministers have a structure in place that allows them to profit huge amounts of money through the Immigration Department. It is established that the proceeds of these monies goes to fuel their political ambition and also personal gain. The previous Director Meighan served under the then Minister of Immigration John Saldivar , where she learned how the sale of Visas and Nationality is done through an international smuggling ring, established by these three politicians. The Prime Minister realized that the massive corruption was way out of line, and would be a huge political scandal therefore he removed Hon John Saldivar and replaced him with Hon. Godwin Hulse with strict instructions that all modus of operandi is to cease and desist. This decision brought everything to a halt, and as time went by the Director Meighan started to process visas and nationality on her own on a smaller scale. The Director established a system where she utilized Alan Vargas an immigration officer as the runner and her Common Law husband Junior Adulphus as the ( Bag Man) whom responsibility was to collect monies from these illegal acts. It worked smoothly and as time went by she started increasing the volume since the personal gain was too tempting to refuse. Be mindful that all of this was now occurring under the watch of Hon. Godwin Hulse. The three Ministers were quick to realize that their HUSTLE had been replaced and they formed an alliance to face the Prime Minister with all the relevant facts to expose the Director RM hustling pattern. The Director was collecting from three patterns,
    1.was Chinese coming from Cuba
    2.Hindu’s from Cuba and neighboring Central American countries
    3.Was Central American nationals passing through Belize and heading to the U.S via Mexico.

    All monies collected was then shipped out to Houston where the director RM has relatives and monies deposited into Banks . The Director RM and her common law Adolphus traveled to Houston repeatedly to deposit their gains. They laundered their money in properties and also an auto rental in Punta Gorda.

    All of the above information was presented to the Prime Minister , and that is the reason why the Director RM was quickly transferred to another department , to once again conceal yet another Immigration Scandal. The three Ministers lobbied very hard to the Prime Minister to Give Hon. Elvin Penner full control of the Immigration Ministry however the PM felt more comfortable that Hon . Godwin Hulse would have a better esthetics to the populace as Minister of Immigration. However the Prime Minister was pressured by these Ministers ,that Minister Godwin Hulse is to facilitate but in a smaller scale. Minister Godwin Hulse agreed to accommodate under one condition , (each minister is to send an official request with the list of particulars for every visa and nationality to be approved. Minister Hulse request is purely to protect himself from any potential scandal that may arise from such illicit nature and to indemnify him of any legality in the future).


    The applicants make an application to the Belize consulates outside of Belize, the Ministry of foreign affairs then sends information packet to the point person in Belize Foreign Affairs which was Mrs. Silvia Murga, she then would hand it over to the Ministry of Immigration the Director Mrs. Marin . The respective Ministers then would make the formal request to the Minister of Immigration attached to the foreign affairs request. The visas are officially processed and when finished they are delivered to the driver of foreign affairs Mr. Wayne Salazar who is in charged to use foreign affairs vehicle to transport the Carrier Mr. Carlos Murga to Cancun where he would board a flight to Cuba and personally hand deliver the passports to the applicants in Cuba. The Government of Belize is fully aware of the sale of visas because they manufactured the system therefore it is in their best interest to squash the recent scandal that happened when Mr.Carlos Murga was detained by Cuban officials with the possession of all these Chinese passports at the airport. The Ministry of foreign Affairs through Mr Alexis Rosado had to act swiftly in negotiating the quick release of Mr Murga , it was crucial to protect and safeguard the government from this major corruption scandal. In the end Mrs. Murga in the foreign affairs ministry was quickly transferred, her Brother Carlos Murga was released by Cuban authorities thanks to government intervention and everything kept hidden from the watchful eyes of the Belizean media houses. However it is the civil duty of Belize Consultant to expose the Major corruption taking place in our country and also provide the necessary leads for the media to follow the corruption smuggling trail in the Ministry of Immigration.

    1.What is the procedure for a Chinese national to get a Belize Visa?
    2.How much visas are issued by the department of Immigration on a Monthly Basis? •This question is necessary because Minister Hulse knows that they are smuggling these Chinese nationals and they are not staying in the Country but heading up North.

    3.What mechanism is in place to guarantee all these Visa holders are not going to leave for another country?
    4.Why is it that all these Visas are being taken to Cuba? If the Minister concern is that visas are being issued legally. By having Mr. Murga caught with these passports in Cuba it’s a clear indication that it’s a smuggling ring taking place and the immigration department is aiding and abetting .
    5.The applicants are applying through the Foreign Affairs Ministry in Cuba , Therefore Foreign Affairs has all the records of applicants and the quantum. So media should Ask Min Hulse and Elrington that why was Mrs Murga transferred after the scandal? And to have records presented of the carrier Mr. Carlos Murga departing Belize and entering Cuba to identify the magnitude of the smuggling ring.
    6.The law is specific, it is illegal for any person to hold a passport that does not belong to them. It’s considered Human trafficking, in the case of Mr. Carlos Murga he had in his possession between 6 to 8 passports . This is a Major cause for Minister Hulse to realize that his ministry is issuing valid visas as part of a major human smuggling scheme , how on earth can he not realize how involved is his ministry and particularly his new director Marin when the minister publicly acknowledges that it was issued officially by her.

    After presenting the facts and structure in which the smuggling ring of human trafficking is taking place in our country, Belize Consultant hopes that all social partners and media houses keep the firing burning until we reach to the bottom of the story and expose the corruption of all those involved in this illicit activity. It is evident that SOME foreign affair employees, immigration, Ministers of government and civil servants are involved all for the mighty DOLLAR. As freedom fighters we have obtained letters to substantiate our story of which all information will be provided to the U.S embassy. It is imperative for Minister Hulse to come clean to the Nation and denounce his government officials that are involved in this ring, failure to do so might come at his own personal reputation and legal peril. To all social and Media houses you have your job cut out, let’s do our part and ensure that we Keep our politicians honest.


  4. country gyal says:

    a bunch a bull$#^% he’s talking now..if the minister is the head of the ministry how the F anyone under him can say what your doing is wrong? they would be dismissed immediately for being disrespectful towards their head..all Barrow is doing is talking a load a crap using terms that he thinks might get us all confused and wide eyed but not even his dumb@$$ ministers understand him.Belize is headed towards destruction and we have him and only him to blame for it.

  5. U.S. Citizen who invests in Belize says:

    Hey Belizeans, your fool government has opened a Pandora’s box with these passports issued to terrorists and criminals. It maybe funny to watch your government officials lie through their teeth on TV, but this could really screw up your country.

    Passports are connected to treaties. If the United States government determines the government of Belize to be a criminal enterprise issuing passports, your country is in violation of those treaties and your passports are useless for getting into the U.S. Just putting the matter into administrative review by the U.S. Department of State could block your visas for months.

    And if the U.S. decides to block your passports, figure a few other countries might do the same. Unless you have dual passports, that is going to cause a lot of problems for Belizeans traveling for whatever reason.

    Sick and you need to visit your doctor in the U.S. because you are dying? Sorry, maybe later.

    Need to go to a business meeting to raise money? Sorry, not going to happen.

    Got friends and family on Green Cards who you expect will visit you for Xmas? Probably not, unless they plan to stay in Belize.

    It won’t ruin your tourism business immediately, but Belizeans will be having problems getting to professional conferences to promote the country. Worldwide tour operators are going to have a problem trying to explain this all to their customers. Who wants to visit a criminal country blacklisted by their government? Plan for a long term slow down for a lot of business sectors.

    So next time you are laughing at your elected fools, give a loud applause to Penner, Contreras, Saldivar, and Hulse. And of course Dean Barrow who gave them the power to pull it off; as he keeps saying he is the one responsible and in charge of the government of Belize.

  6. Guerra says:

    “What I do know is that (an) Asian person whom I have known through business trips ,even before I entered politics, came to me for a signature so he could get his passport.”

    1. Was he renewing a passport?
    2. If he is someone you met on business trips, then he is not from here, so most likely he has a foreign passport?
    3. If it was before you became minister then you knew him for more than 6 years.

    “He also mention that he needed it urgently since he was about to go on a trip and was more than willing to pay the regular one day service fee.”

    4. The only people who can get passport in one day are those who already have a passport.
    5. Why wasn’t the camera used to take his picture, since we no longer take pictures to the passport office.
    6. Where is the old passport which he surrendered to have this one day service done.
    7. If it was lost, where is the police record to say it was lost, because you had to report it to the police before you could get a new one.

    “The picture on the nationality document he presented to me”

    8. If he received a nationality document on the 22nd April 2013, which is the last time people were given nationality status, then… Why would the nationality stamp have 9/9/13 and since he appeared before you, then this stamp date should have match 22 April 2013 which is the date he received his nationality status?
    9. Since he was asking for a one day service, everything was done on that day. Does this mean that he was nationalized on 9/9/2013 as well and purely by mistake someone deviously added 22 April 2013 to the document?
    10. There are Justice of the Peace in Belmopan, so why did the minister have to inconvenience Senor Kim to send him and the document to be signed by x-mayor all the way in San Ignacio? We believe Kim Wonhong, who wasn’t in Belize, didn’t mind the tour? lol Guess what…secret, secret…the driver showed up by himself, so don’t tell anyone…lol Also, this same JP witness is the one who is slated to run in San Ignacio for the position of Mayor shortly, again, in place of John, who is slated to step up.
    11. How long did Penner actually know this man? Was it 3 years or more than 5? This can be anybody’s guess since, to us, it sound conflicting, but then again what is not? I mean a man appearing before you, who is actually at that moment in JAIL, and that same man being given a tour to San Ignacio, just so a JP can sign that he know him as well? lol The web we weave!!!

    ‘The person for whom I signed the application for could never have been Mr. Wonhong Kim’

    It get a little more complicated. He gave this man a one day service, a man who was in Jail at the time, and now this is an official document which this man is to use, but will not be able to use because it could never be the same person…lol I am sure the money that passed hands, could never be used also because it turned out to be fake! lol

    We are just dumb Belizeans writing so someone with sense can correct us! By the way…d man daughter, we hear, yereso… is driving one of the latest model car courtesy of dad! Did the media see it when they check out the hummer? We just asking? lol Those fake dallas can do wandas!

    ‘ I can only assume that he was impersonating Mr. Wonhong Kim.”

    As for now lets close this case as mistaken identity, because the man Penner knew for more than five years, which was before he became a minister, and was his good friend, had changed his appearance, and no longer look like Wonhong Kim…

  7. melvin says:

    its a real joke wat dean barrow and penner are trying to fool-fool the Belizean people and the world,dean barrow can talk lone rasss but he di fool himself- Belizeans are smarter and don’t believe his crap,and penner is wasting his talks and e-mails the only thing he is doing is getting more messedup under this immigration scandal/corruption.hope the police do someting or the US. EMBASSY intervenes and request an FBI to come and investigate this passport scandal,this is an international crime,and the US/FBI should be involved to investigate.because we know that the police dept under saldivar and dean barrow noting will come out of it because they will COVER IT ALLLLLL THE CORRUPTION LIKE NOTING HAPPENED.POWER TO THE PEOPLE!

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