By BBN Staff: At yesterday’s press conference, Minister of Police and former Minister of Immigration, Godwin Hulse offered an explanation in regards to the Prime Minister’s role in recommending his wife’s brother-in-law for nationality whereas the Auditor General reports that the applicant, William Dahlstrom, did not qualify because he had not resided in the country for a full year.
Hulse, who signed the documents, said he never spoke to the Prime Minister regarding the document and dismissed any notion of wrong-doing.
According to Hulse, he got a file saying Dahlstrom, a Swedish national, qualified for nationality under Section 11 of the Nationality Act. Hulse explained that Dahlstrom married Sharet Simplis, the sister of the Prime Minister’s wife, in 1994. Hulse said the Director wrote to him saying Dahlstrom qualified so he signed the document and sent it back. Hulse said there was nothing irregular about the process.
“The audit report says that I failed to notice that it did not qualify because of the permanent required in Belize and she says, it was obvious to anyone who handle this file that after some note was written that Peter William Dahlstrom did not meet the one year residency requirements for nationality through marriage since it was specifically stated on the application. Well I can tell you she probably look at a different file from me,” Hulse said.
Hulse said he had even gotten legal advice on the matter from Gian Ghandi, who is now deceased.
“The law says very clearly that the requirements for marriage under section 11 are as follows: that the applicant qualifies under paragraph A and C of subsection 1 of 10. That simply means that he is older than 18 and intends to be in the country. B) That the applicant has been resident in Belize throughout a period of 1 year immediately preceding the date of the application of such applicant and C) that the applicant is the spouse or widow of a Belizean. That’s what it says. But it didn’t stop there, because the drafters of the legislation were aware of this one year residency requirement and the fact is that people who are busy or people who are businessmen who go and come and would break that would never ever be able to be registered if they had to stay here for a year locked down from 1st January to 31st December. We are not a stupid country. So they put in a clause that says ‘for purposes of residency required specified in section 3B above, if any applicant marries a Belizean citizen such applicant shall be deemed to have been legally resident in Belize from the date of such marriage.’ Which means that Mr. Dahlstrom is deemed to be resident in Belize from that time,” Hulse stated.
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