Minister Anthony ‘Boots” Martinez was scheduled to appear before the Senate Select Committee today. Minister Martinez’s name was mentioned in the Auditor General’s report in relation to his recommendation for the processing of a visa for an Asian national. However, Hon. Martinez was told that his testimony has been postponed to a later date. The minister was not too happy about that .
Hon. Anthony Martinez, Area Representative for Port Loyola: On my entry today, well prepared to go. I was informed that the committee is not ready for me yet. I have some fundamental difficulties. I think this senate inquiry to me begins to become a kind of circus, I don’t know, I don’t know.
Reporter: Have they given you any explanation as to why they haven’t given you this summons today that they cancelled?
Hon. Anthony Martinez, Area Representative for Port Loyola: No explanation at all, I mean taking me out of my busy schedule, today is my constituency day and you summoned me and I think that if you want to – in my humble opinion the meat of the matters and I think that readily anticipated for ministers to be called and testify.
Reporter: So you’ve been informed of another date when you should reappear?
Besides the fact that the Audit Report mentions Minister’s Martinez’ name, as you may recall, Alvorine Burgess had testified before the Senate Inquiry that Minister Martinez had been one of the Minister’s she turned to for recommendation for one of her clients in the visa application process that she allegedly worked for profit. Martinez says he showed up today to testify to the Auditor General Report’s mention of his name but he has a problem with Ms. Burgess’ testimony before the committee.
Hon. Anthony Martinez, Area Representative for Port Loyola: I don’t worry about the character call in to question you know. My character is called into question almost on a daily basis; wrongfully but that is not an issue with me, the issue is what is before the senate and so I think I’m not here. The senate called me to question my character, I think that the summons said testify in regards to what happened in regards to the immigration thing but again I have some little fundamental problem like for example, Mrs. Burgess. She is nowhere in that report and for even myself to be answering or try to reply to hear say; Mrs. Burgess is not in that report at all, I don’t know that’s why I said I find it to be a circus. Somebody weh nuh inna the report you call. You summons me to come as minister and then you tell me that you nuh ready fi me yet? When in my view, in my humble opinion, the person who was not named in no report, who is not a minister, who is not a public officer was summoned before this Senate Select Committee. I find it to be a joke like a circus.
Martinez’s name appears in the Auditor General’s report n appendix four under a table labeled “Minister’s Request” where Minister Martinez allegedly wrote a letter asking for the visa application for one Wen Zan Yu be processed. When asked about his role as stated in the report, this is what he had to say.
Hon. Anthony Martinez, Area Representative for Port Loyola: My job as a politician is on a daily basis. I’ve made recommendation all across the board, even as a minister I recommend people with passport, people for lands, for education, for everything. I do a lot of thing in my career so there is no—
Hon. Anthony Martinez, Area Representative for Port Loyola: Facilitate? How could I facilitate, listen to me. There are a couple things, there is the formula of how a person get visa. I don’t have a difficulty with whatsoever recommendation is just a suggestion you know.
Reporter: That carries weight according to the testimony of some of the immigration officers who came here.
Hon. Anthony Martinez, Area Representative for Port Loyola: Listen to me, you look up the meaning of recommendation and it might carry weight within the regulation, it might carry weight within the regulation. Just yesterday I made a recommendation to public service in regards to a constituency of mines who was seeking a job and that recommendation was turned down. Why? Because the person didn’t meet the qualifications, he didn’t meet the qualification required by public service to get the job so recommendation is just a suggestion you know, that is no guarantee you know.
Reporter: Sir that is the ideal situation, it has been revealed that these recommendations hold sway, they obliged the immigration officers to act in a certain way.
Hon. Anthony Martinez, Area Representative for Port Loyola: But I don’t know that sir, that is not the policy and that is not the law. So whatsoever is the policy and the law must remain, the person must show where he got proof that he could stay, he need bank statements, all of that is the requirement, it is not just on recommendation.
Last week, Addy Pacheco had stated to the Committee that she felt intimidated whenever a Minister made a request and feared that if she were to deny that request, she would be transferred or lose her job. Minister Martinez, like the other Ministers who have testified before him, said that public servants are obligated to follow the procedures of their departments first and foremost.