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Attorney General sets record straight on Vital Statistics Unit

Posted: Monday, April 15, 2019. 12:53 pm CST.

By Aaron Humes: Attorney General, Michael Peyrefitte, has warned that any individuals seeking to acquire Belizean citizenship, especially for the coming I.C.J. referendum, without providing accurate information, will be criminally charged.

During this morning’s Senate meeting, Peyrefitte responded to two cases brought publicly of persons claiming to be disenfranchised when their applications were not accepted.

 Nectali Ico of Dolores village, Toledo District, said he twice made late registration applications for birth certificate and was told nothing was in the system for him.

But according to Peyrefitte, Vital Statistics Unit’s records show that Ico and his wife registered two children in 2011 and 2014, but gave his information as having been born in the Peten area of Guatemala. He would therefore have to apply for permanent residence etc. before becoming a citizen.

The case of educator Alexander Bennett, said Peyrefitte, is much simpler; he was registered in the name of Alejandro Bennett, and would have to change his name by deed poll, but is otherwise properly registered.

Peyrefitte accused the P.U.P. of trying to milk both cases to push “dangerous propaganda” and a false view of the Unit.

The A.G. made note that no less than 70 applications were from persons who claimed to be born in Peten.

 A total of 1,303 applications were turned down by the Unit to date, 692 since November 1st, 2018 when Peyrefitte became A.G., and a further 611 from the start of the re-registration period in June 2018; 80 percent are from the southern districts.

Concerning the bill under debate, Peyrefitte said there was no magic to it; the people must have the final say on whether the claim should be settled at The Hague, and Guatemala only gets one shot at the I.C.J.

 The debate continues.

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