Posted: Friday, May 24, 2019. 9:13 am CST.
By Aaron Humes: Chairman of the Senate Special Select Committee, Aldo Salazar, says work continues on the first draft of the six-member committee’s report on its hearings into the Immigration Department between 2011 and 2013.
This week, Salazar attributed ‘delays’ in writing the first draft to the pressures of the ‘part-time’ members’ schedules and inability to get certain documents to help write the report.
The Senate inquiry concluded its public hearings in December 2017 after a full year’s worth of hearings in public and private.
The membership includes Government Senator Dr. Carla Barnett; Opposition Senator Eamon Courtenay; and independent Senators Mark Lizarraga, Elena Smith, and Ashley Rocke. Michel Chebat substituted on several occasions for Courtenay.
The Police Department, then led by Commissioner Allen Whylie, has delayed formal investigations until the report is released, but several witnesses testifying at the hearing said that neither it nor other investigative agencies need to wait for the report to begin their inquiries.
It was widely acknowledged over the course of the hearing that “a culture of corruption,” from the bottom to the top, led to the conditions that caused South Korean businessman Won Hong Kim to attempt to obtain Belizean documentation in an effort to escape embezzlement charges in 2013. Then-Minister of State Elvin Penner was fired from Cabinet and blackballed out of the United Democratic Party, though escaped criminal charges.
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