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Sep 30, 2013

Update from Minister Hulse on investigation into passport scandal

The media also got an update from the Minister of Immigration himself today on the investigations into the passport scandal. But while Godwin Hulse commended the new and improved systems in place at both the Immigration and Nationality Department, he chided the ousted minister for his involvement in facilitating the issuance of a Belizean passport to South Korean national Kim Wonhong. And while many are of the view that the nationality section was safe of the investigation, Hulse says it is quite the contrary. In fact, he says that the investigation revealed that the responsibility lies solely with Cayo North East Area Representative, Elvin Penner, who signed the nationality certificate which is the final stage before an application can be made for a passport. As to the discrepancies in the photos being aired of Kim Wonhong, Hulse says that the Taiwanese authorities have confirmed that the photograph is that of Wonhong.


Godwin Hulse, Minister of Immigration

Godwin Hulse

“We are still pursuing this investigation. As you know it is no secret that this passport was issued. One of the good things I must put on the record is that the improvements we had put into the department, led us to be able to detect this and to be able to take some immediate action which the Prime Minister took without hesitation. As a matter of fact I must say for the first time, the media was caught off guard because no wind was broken of this until the Prime Minister made his announcement of the removal of Minister Penner. It is improper to suggest that in fact, there is no look at nationality. There has been very intense look at nationality. In fact the difference however is that in the nationality sector, it is the minister who signs the nationality certificate and in this case, he did sign the certificate. In the passport sector, it is not the minister. There is a seven step process to getting a Belizean passport which some of you are very familiar with because when we launched it we had done the media rounds and that seven step procedure was supposed to prevent anything from going awry. And this is how we managed to go awry. In the nationality sector, it is the minister whose final review and approval of a nationality certificate is required; notwithstanding how the file is developed.  We have, since this, improved the system for nationality. But remember, as it stands, the file went to the Minister for signing according to him on September ninth. Now, where it went from there is anybody’s guess. He still has to say who he gave it back to. He simply said that he sent it back to the department, but that doesn’t name anybody; that only names the department.”



“Sir are you aware of any discrepancies in the photographs?”


Godwin Hulse

“To be frank with you Jules, I saw your picture on Channel Seven; I heard what was floating around on Facebook. The picture that was shown, it looks slightly different from the ones that we have on the passport, but that is still on the way. I can say to you that once again as late as Friday and again as late as four-forty-five to be specific and exact, we have asked the Taiwanese authorities to be one hundred percent accurate and certain of the photograph because this has emerged as an issue. And so before we make a tremendous amount of noise, we want to be dead certain that this is the person. They have said so; we have reconfirmed at four-forty-five this morning…I asked for a final reconfirmation that that is indeed the person.  My responsibility as substantive minister is administrative. To first of all find out what went wrong, to hold those persons administratively accountable which we are doing, to put in system to prevent or at least to eliminate. It is like any good football team, a goal will get through…so I will never suggest that it will never happen again, but it gets tighter and tighter and when we are finished with that, those agencies responsible for criminal activity can take it up.”


While the nationality file remains missing, Hulse says that unlike the William Dyck issue, no files were found. In this case, however, the passport file was intact due to the new system in place. For that reason, they are able to determine which officer, what time and how the process for the illegal passport was done.

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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6 Responses for “Update from Minister Hulse on investigation into passport scandal”

  1. When the smell of gas gets thick, take lots of Beano says:

    > they are able to determine which officer,
    > what time and how the process for the illegal passport was done.

    So how far does it go to the PM’s office? Who is in between?
    Can you determine that? Or has Penner agreed to be the fall guy?

    Clearly Penner dreams this all by himself, every criminal around the world calls Penner, and Penner tells that officer to issue a passport.

    Seems like there is a world wide network of agents lining up passport sales.
    The word is out. Criminal? Si! Como Este Belice!

    High level and low level government officials are part of the criminal enterprise called the government of Belize, led by Beano and his merry band of elected criminals.

    Beano, do not let go of power; all your criminal activities will start floating to the top in plain view; then these fake investigations can’t cover up the deeds.

    Then the question is whether the Puppies will clean up the mess through a real pubic investigation sending criminals where they belong, or create bigger messes where the UDP left off.

  2. Guerra says:

    We are making a big ado about this case, but these men, Penner, John and Contreras did not make the bucks from this one case. The PM could pontificate all he want, and slap his chest, stamp his foot but only fools will think the man is soooo right. A thorough investigation is needed on all passport, visas, nationality given over the last five years. They must also investigate the auto parts dealings, where parts are bought at exorbitant prices, massive construction materials usages, for small projects and land sale by the same auto parts place.

    I am sure the whole immigration staff would become so nervous, because even some clerks change vehicles like how they change their clothes. Stop play and bring this rampant corruption to an end.

  3. Concern says:

    Penner did not make his riches from this one sale, so get your act together and do a thorough research! Neither did John, Contreras, nor Ruth!!!

  4. Concern says:

    The CEO in the ministry of health Peter Allen received a death threat at his office today! A “Mike Moss”, not his real name, told Allen that he should call a press conference tomorrow to say that all the accounts at Southern Regional have been investigated and are in perfect order, cause if he didn’t, he must not want to live. This is what will happen when illegal hustling is allowed to fester. Even a minister will threaten you if you dare not to back off his case, that is why these things must be nipped in the bud.

  5. Jeez says:

    Relax and wait for the movie to come out: Chiney and Mennonite Love for Belizeans!

  6. Citizen says:

    Usually, a foreigner would have to apply for a visa and that would be vetted at a Belize Embassy and if they found out Kim was in jail, he would not qualify for a visitor’s visa to enter Belize. But while Kim would not have qualified for a vistor’s visa, the imprisoned man who has never been to Belize, was given a Belize passport instead. If there is more to it, an investigation will reveal it.

    Can The Immigration Department release the to the people of Belize the information on Mr. Kim Wonhong

    1: Immigration arrival record? Date entered Belize?
    2: Which address he stayed at while in Belize? Picini Area is not an address! Must have a house number address. However this is the same type of fraud that is occurring with the voters list countrywide.
    3: Length of stay?
    4: Immigration recorded Date he departed Belize?
    5: How come he did not need to live in Belize for five years?
    6: Did he marry a Belizean?
    7: Where is his police record showing Interpol clearance?
    8: Which doctor signed his medical certificate?
    9: Where is his light bill, water bill at the residence he stayed?
    10: Social Security card issued by Belize Social Security Board?
    11: Did he bring his wife and other members of family?
    12: Other than the recommender and JP, who else knew him in the Picini area?
    13: Who is the last person to sign for the missing nationality file?

    We Belizeans NEED TO KNOW!

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