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Immigration Minister: Reforms in place since compilation of Audit report

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Posted: Wednesday, July 15, 2020. 3:19 pm CST.

By Aaron Humes: The Minister of Immigration and Nationality, Senator Godwin Hulse, traced the full history of what led to today’s report in closing the debate.

Reminding of the “bad old days” of Rafic Labboun traveling under the passport of the deceased William Dyck and the Won Hong Kim debacle, Hulse reminded that he moved to get rid of Elvin Penner as Minister of State and institute reforms.

These include the various committees formed for nationality and visa vetting, including participants from the social partners and the emphasis has been placed on public participation, as in Hulse’s words, “you are marrying into my society.”

Regarding visa grants, Hulse cited the law’s specific prohibitions on persons entering the country, which can be overridden by the Minister, but now only the VVC can approve visas. It is the public, he says, who must do their part by getting a hold of the names published in the Government Gazette and asking the right questions.

The Minister suggested that the primary issue is nationality and apart from being born in Belize or to at least one Belizean parent, you can become a Belizean by marriage to a Belizean or to register after being a “permanent resident” of Belize – that is, for at least five years.

But he suggested the inquiry had missed asking recommenders for persons seeking nationality because it is on their word that a nationality application proceeds.

And he repeated that Immigration officers need not have been afraid because his door was always open to them: “They could have come to me.”

And he took pride that he never personally had been accused of wrongdoing.

 

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