Posted: Saturday, November 11, 2017. 1:18 pm CST.
By BBN Staff: The Immigration and Nationally Department is working on phasing out old nationality certificates as well as trying to simplify the process for Belizeans to get passports, according to Minister of State with responsibility for Immigration, Beverly Williams.
In an interview with Plus TV, Williams noted that there are many fraudulent copies of the old type of nationality certificates still in circulation alongside legitimate certificates which the holders have not yet updated. Williams said that some of the official certificates go as far back as 15 years but that the department had difficulty locating those persons initially.
“You will see some of them had the old certificate, they were already signed, so our intention is to redo those. We’ve already asked them to bring them back and we’ll give them certificates with the new features which we believe is more secure, less risk in terms of replicating or duplicating the certificate,” Williams said.
With respect to passports, Williams said that the department is reviewing its standard operating procedures to see where they can make changes to make the process of getting a passport easier for Belizeans. She noted that the department put in a series of checks that further complicated the procedure, in light of the Wong Hong Kim scandal, where a South Korean National got a Belizean passport while in a Taiwanese detention facility.
“We put it in when there were so many fraudulent passports and Belizeans suffer because of some of the requirements and I say suffer because we bring them, we turn them back, this is required, that is not required, we have to cross this T and dot that I and Belizeans are frustrated,” Williams added.
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