As we mentioned earlier in the newscast, there will be stringent measures implemented in the passport, nationality and even the visa section of the Immigration and the Nationality Department. At the press conference held today, Minister Godwin Hulse outlined a number of new rules to protect the issuance of any of these documents, some of which will be implemented forthwith. Hoping to bring the current scandal to an end, the Minister began by saying that a new committee will be formed to scrutinize the process before it is even signed by the minister. But most importantly, an entire new form in the nationality section will be introduced bearing an entire new set of requirements.

Screen_shot_2013-10-10_at_6.59.23_PMGodwin Hulse- Minister of Immigration

“One; we will start with a vigorous organizing and restructuring of the department for better efficiency with assistance and expertise of the ministry of the public service.  Two; we will create a nationality scrutinizing committee and I dear say that time has not permitted us to consult with all the actors in the public sector.  The new form C is intended to eliminate the possibility of a reproduction by any individual person and the signing of such certificate by the minister responsible prior to the completed process of granting of citizenship by registration to any person. And here is how the new form will be detailed, at present the form is a simple certificate with the minister signature and the date on which he signs and the picture is attached via some mechanical means.  The new certificate will have the facial photograph of the person so destined to be a citizen of Belize scanned into the document. We will now take a finger print image of the said person using either his right or left index finger as the case may be.  The signature of the officer in charge of nationality and permanent residence will also appear on the certificate that is to ensure the highest officer in the department has certified that that certificate is ready for issue but it doesn’t stop there, the signature of the director of immigration and nationality services will also appear on the certificate.  The signature of the minister of immigration and nationality services will also be on the certificate because it is the minister who issues and the date and time of signature.  The oath of allegiance followed by the person’s signature who took the oath will appear on the certificate and the signature of the commissioner of the Supreme Court who administers the oath will also appear on the certificate.”


If that was not enough, there will also be a strengthening of the Nationality Act and an increase in penalties should the provisions of the act be violated.

Godwin Hulse- Minister of Immigration

“Finally, while the new form serves to eliminate the possibility since the oath administered by the commissioner of the Supreme Court will be printed on that we will strengthen the act. We will strengthen the act by increasing from what it is now a five hundred dollars to fifty thousand dollars and imprisonment for a period not less than five years but up to maximum of fifteen years, both fine and confine for any violation of the proposed of this Act.  To ensure that going forward, person of the front desk will make absolutely certain that when you come it is you and persons who take your picture will make sure it is you.  We will strengthened the passport act by including an additional section to ensure that the procedures involve in the recommendations, the acceptance of application, date of capture and approval of processing are strictly followed so it is not only going to be administrative, the law is going to be amended to include that and we are going to increase the penalty violations of these provisions of the act from the current prescribe five hundred dollars again to fifty thousand dollars and to include imprisonment for a period not less than five years but up to fifteen years.”

The passport and nationality sections are not the only departments that will see drastic changes.

Godwin Hulse- Minister of Immigration

“In addition to this the Prime Minister and the government and this mister has also decided to improve the visa issuing system as you know there has been a lot of issues surrounding visas etcetera. So we will also create a visa vetting committee and that committee is going to be a little less compose it will not have the social partners because visas is almost an everyday thing, that ministry will comprise of the CEO of the ministry of immigration, CEO in the ministry of human development for human trafficking, the CEO in the ministry of national security for national security issues and the director of immigration as ex-oficio officer, this committee will also be created administratively but the act will be amended to ensure  that this committee must approve certain types of visas prior to issuance by the department , of course there are cases of emergencies, and in those we will ensure that they approval must be done not only by the director but one member of the committee who is not associated with immigration.”

And there you have it more stringent rules for the Immigrations and Nationality Department. It is left to see if those measures will compensate for the already badly injured system in our country.

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