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June 5, 2017

We name stink da road – the Banes/Nanes debacle


Posted: Monday, June 5, 2017. 8:33 am CST.

By Lisa Shoman:  Five years ago, in October of 2013, as Lead Opposition Senator, I introduced an historic Motion in the Senate of Belize to demand for an investigation into the Immigration Department for scandals exposed by, among other things, the 2012 general election and of course, the Auditor General’s report.

This year, that Senate Inquiry is finally being held thanks to the valiant and determined efforts of the BNTU- and is producing startling testimony, no thanks to Leader of Government who did his best to block the move for as long as he could.

Let us hope he can explain why when he comes to testify before the Special Select Committee under oath – and I hope – in public, not in camera as he can.

Two and a half years ago, at the first business meeting of the current Senate, I introduced another Motion demanding the investigation into the David Banes/ David Nanes Schnitzer affair.

Again, I was right. Time to investigate this farce. The confidential report of that particular disgraceful scandal has been obtained and more than justifies the demand made for a Senate Inquiry. Channel 5 news on Friday night provided the following excerpt which is, to say the least, mind blowing- espeluznante.

“The confidential report of the Immigration Department and former acting Director Maria Marin on the David Nanes Schnitzer affair has been obtained by News Five. At the end of this past January, the Mexican-American was captured and deported to Mexico to face fraud charges in the Allen Stanford Ponzi scheme. Nanes had been living in Belize for some time with various false documents until he was caught in 2016; however, he jumped bail after a court appearance and left Belize with a huge black eye.

Now to the confidential memo; it found that Nanes completed his nationality application form as David Banes; however, his supporting documents were in the name of David Nanes and the form appeared to show a hand-written change to the surname. The application was accepted by then-Immigration Clerk Ady Pacheco, the only one she accepted between October of 2012 and March of 2013. This was considered unusual since the counter clerks who were normally in charge of that were present but not involved. No explanation was given for the name change from Nanes to Banes and both Officer in charge of Nationality, Gordon Wade, and then Director of Immigration, Ruth Meighan, did not intervene to ask about the name change.

Further, on the same day that the application was accepted, an interview was conducted with Banes/Nanes, far faster than the standard one-to-two week period. Nanes got his nationality in a record nineteen days after first applying, faster than the six-to-eight week waiting period.”

No question that Mexico is our closest friend, neighbor, big brother and a generous, constant benefactor. No question that the “bungling” of the Ministry of Immigration ONCE the rotten boards were peeled up and the Banes/Nanes affair was revealed like a termite nest, permitted Nanes to elude capture for some time. No doubt that the Mexican Government was extremely angry at what we did/ did not do.

The Minister in charge of that bungle? Godwin Hulse. Rather than have the man taken into custody, changed with proper immigration offenses, prosecute and THEN strip him of nationality, the LOGB gazetted his revocation and thus permitted this criminal to evade Belizean and Mexican justice. Hulse is either inept, or worse.

This is all part and parcel of INSTITUTIONAL rot in Immigration. You think the US is worried only about visas to Chinese/other nationals?

The US is concerned about the trafficking of identity in the Immigration and Nationality Department and rightly so.

Remember Wilhelm Dyck? He is the deceased child whose Belizean identity was used to apply for a Belizean passport. He almost got it too, except that the photo of a man who “looked Lebanese” did not accord with the Mennonite name.

Does anyone seriously think that the US or any other country struggling with terrorism HAS forgotten this?

Paris, Brussels, London, Manchester have all been recent victims of acts of terror. Pray to whatever God you worship that none of the perpetrators will ever happen to have a passport from Belize, because then you will know what it felt like to be a Colombian in the 80s and 90s.

And in the meantime, your Prime Minister shrugs at it all, unconcerned about the excesses of his “ancien régime” – as if he were the Sun King himself. Après lui le déluge.

Right now, di Jewel name stink stink stink da road.

The views expressed in this article are those of the writer and not necessarily those of Breaking Belize News.



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