The press continues to seek the views of Cabinet members on different facets of the immigration scandal. On Monday, Tourism and Culture Minister Manuel Heredia Jr. was asked if he is aware of the widely-reported visa quota system for Ministers and whether he facilitated any such visas. Here is his response.
“Well, to be very honest, I commute everyday between San Pedro, and if anything about that, I cannot comment. On that, I know very little, probably if anything is there, I might know tomorrow at Cabinet, but at this point it is very difficult for me to comment.”
Reporter: “But as far as a Cabinet member, are you aware of any collective visa quota system that was implemented in the Cabinet?”
Hon. Manuel Heredia: “Definitely not. That is totally out of order and it’s erroneous. That is not so”.
A clear denial. We then turned to the allegations against his colleague, Minister of State Edmond Castro. Manuel Heredia showed loyalty, suggesting it is all a plot to bring the Government down.
Hon. Manuel Heredia: “Well, for that one I must say that at this point, I can clearly see that there is an agenda that anyone of us, we have to be very careful. They are watching us very careful…that is what I see and then we have the opposition, we have the other people that are looking forward that this government down. So, personally, I would say, we need to be very careful; anybody will lend itself in this day in time, you know, people will lend themselves to come up forward and then, even if it’s not so, will come out with allegations of this nature”.
Manuel Heredia, like several other Ministers, says he gives recommendations for visa approvals, but insists that for him it doesn’t go further than that.
Hon. Manuel Heredia: “But if I can recall, but it was a genuine of my constituents. I made one, but it was not really personally. It’s just a letter stating that I knew the person and his wife was…it’s a genuine businessman of my constituency and his wife wanted to come to Belize, and then, I gave a letter of recommendation. But that one, recommending, if you know the person well, there is nothing wrong. Many genuine people come to this country and they seek visas from different embassies and so. So, if everything is genuine, I see no problem with that”.