Minister Hulse Updates on Immigration Scandal Investigation

Yesterday, Immigration Minister Godwin Hulse gave the media an update on investigations into the passport scandal as it relates to the two officers from the Nationality section being questioned.

He said that the director was satisfied that there were enough questions that the two persons would need to answer to, but that they have received a letter from the officers’ attorney saying otherwise

vlcsnap-2014-02-18-19h06m08s184Hon. Godwin Hulse- Minister of Immigration

“As far as I know up until Friday evening our response has come through their attorney saying that there is nothing to answer.  That has given the director to ask the Solicitor General to respond to him vas I advisor to the government that in fact she will now recommend, if he so advises, goes to the Public Service Commission, so, they can determine what to do because the Public Service Commission is the entity that deals with all public officers. So, te director will say to the Public Service Commission, I have some questions, I haven’t gotten a satisfactory response, I now put it in your hands.  That’s where we are with that”.

The Minister also explained why the first three officers from the passport section were swiflty suspended but the process for the investigation into the  nationality section is taking so long.

Immigration and NationalityHon. Godwin Hulse:  “Passport is different.  Remember passport is an application and you can look at that as an application and in five minutes you can decide if that application is regular or if it is irregular.  That was the case with the three persons.  The person who does the data capture is to ensure that the person who is sitting in front of the camera and who’s picture he takes is the person, and clearly that is not the person because the man was not here!  So, that is easy to determine.  In the case of nationality, it is a lot different and let me run it a little bit by you:  Somebody comes in to the office and applies for nationality; they bring in a file; the file is checked and in this case, Ms. Pacheco is the counter supervisor of the day; she gives a receipt that says, I have received your application and list on it all the documentation that you brought in’.  That file is then passed to the senior supervisor who is now, in that particular case, Mr. Wade; that sits there; a date for vetting is established; a date for an interview of the person is established.  The file is then sent to the Special Branch for that sort of vetting.  When all of that documentation comes back, the file then goes to the Director with a recommendation from the head of the department saying, “Oh, it seems to be in order”.  The director then does her final scrutiny.  Clearly, she does not go to do the investigation, but she has to trust her officers.  Then, the file is sent to the minister with a copy of the certificate for his signature if he agrees because the final decision is his. The file is then returned back to the department; the date is set in Belize passportfor swearing in and you are familiar with that fanfare.  It is that process that we had to determine where it fell down.  How is it that Mr. Kim has a certificate (which all of you showed on television), without the director seen a file, the Head of Department saying well, I didn’t vet the file and all of this and you had to first of all, find the file; here is Mr. Saldivar saying, ‘I have the file’, how on earth he got it?  All of that takes time”.

Again, the two officers will be before the Public Service Commission this week to present their cases.

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