Posted: Friday, March 13, 2020. 12:34 pm CST.
By Aaron Humes: Following Wednesday’s Senate meeting, Chair of the Senate Select Committee on Immigration, attorney Aldo Salazar, addressed in part why the draft report he has just completed took so long and what happens next.
The six-member Committee convened in November 2016 after contention over the very makeup of its membership.
It interviewed publicly at least one fellow Senator – Minister of Immigration Godwin Hulse – and senior members from Immigration, Attorney General, Labour Ministries, police officers, politicians past and present and a few civilians.
Its primary task was to find out how it was that the Department lapsed so often in its duties of verifying those seeking Belizean identity, most notably, accused fraudster Won Hong Kim of South Korea.
Senator Salazar essentially wrote the draft himself and has shared the report with all members of the Committee except for the Opposition, which was represented by now-former Senator, Eamon Courtenay. Current Opposition Leader in the Senate Michel Chebat substituted for Courtenay on occasion.
Now that it is complete, Salazar told reporters, “…it is the responsibility of the Senate Select Committee to produce the [final] report itself. So that means that senators would have been working all this time or should have been working on their ideas and putting their thoughts together so they can now finalize their report.”
He refused to discuss or divulge the reasons why reports suggested he had been “abandoned” by his colleagues, citing confidentiality of the group’s deliberation. He did note that it was not his sole responsibility to write even the draft, but that he took on said responsibility knowingly and lives with being the “scapegoat” for the delay.
As for when it goes before the Senate, Senator Salazar says it is now out of his control and depends solely on when the final report is completed.
The production of the report was one of six demands made by the National Trade Union Congress of Belize (NTUCB), who was represented on the Committee by Senator Elena Smith.
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