During the House of Representatives on Friday Area Representative for Toledo East, Mike Espat brought up another Immigration Scandal for the Barrow Administration. While the David Nanes Schnitzer case dominated the conversation in the House, Espat, with documents in hand, called on the Government to conduct an intense investigation at the Immigration Department because there was rampant corruption. As he outlined the details of the case Espat even called out names of persons who assisted individuals living in Bella Vista to receive nationality and residency for approximately one thousand dollars days before the November fourth elections.
This morning, during the Senate meeting in Belmopan, Honorable Minister of Natural Resources and Immigration, Senator Godwin Hulse, indicated that there has been no evidence presented of any involvement of members of the Department, and much less of those mentioned by the Area Representative.
Godwin Hulse - Senator
“During the statement the Honorable Representative alleged that he had in his possession fourteen nationalities certificates which was part of a program initiated in the Immigration department to effect and extract from poor residence from the villages of Bella Vista and Trio who were doped by Immigration officials, he further alleged that these fourteen persons paid a thousand dollars to the Immigration officials, he further stated that it was confirmed that Mrs. Maria Marin and Mrs. Anna Alpuche as well as Mr. Eden Martinez and the Chairman of the village of Bella Vista met with the people as part of this scam, Mr. president I will stop there, in this process of alleging and insinuating wrong doing on the part of officials he left no doubt in the mind of listeners that Mrs. Maria Marin the Deputy Director was presiding over a very corrupt department and even insinuated that she may even had knowledge of this, in a very what we consider venomous and knowledgeable tone of voice he called for an investigation into this activity, Mr. President to say the least I was stunned by this revelation…”
Lisa Shoman- Senator
“On a point of order, Mr. President the standing order says that members of the senate may not impute any motives to members of the national assembly, I think I would believe that the leader of government business would like to withdraw that imputation of venomous tone that is not parliamentary language Mr. President…”
Godwin Hulse - Senator
“Mr. President, to say the least I was stunned by this revelation by his exactness of his revelation the confident in which he exposed this information and the situation and confidence he placed in his three source. Mr. President, the facts of the case are as follow; On Thursday October the 29th 2015, I was informed as then Minister responsible for Immigration by the Chairman of Bella Vista Village that some twelve persons had paid for and received nationality certificates from an operative who claim to be an Immigration official, on Friday October the 30th 2015, the Chairman brought a copy.”
According to Hulse an intense investigation was carried out and two persons have been charged.
Godwin Hulse – Senator
“Mrs. Marin and I travelled to Bella Vista on Sunday the 31st of October to meet with these people for the purpose of; checking on their legal status, finding out how it occurred and how it was done and to get an exact idea of person/persons whom they were involved, present at that meeting was the Chairman of that village, a police office, the director of immigration, myself and the Standard Bearer for Toledo East at the time and Candidate Mr. Eden Martinez, one by one the director interviewed each of the twelve persons and check on their legal status in the country and preparedness to be witnesses in this case whilst there we learnt that another ten certificates were being prepared for additional purpose for additional persons to be delivered on the following Monday, the persons were to travel to Belize City on Tuesday morning for a ronde vue with the operatives on Tuesday at eight o’clock and to meet at a pre-arranged location, all the relevant personnel at the highest level were present.”
Before closing off Hulse demanded a public apology from Espat, who he says abused his parliamentary privilege by calling the names of person snot present at the House on Friday and as a result unable to defend themselves.
Godwin Hulse - Senator
““I call on his for an immediate and public apology to Mrs. Marin and Mrs. Alpuche who was not involved at all and others whose names were called, it is the lest he can do since he knows that these persons are defenseless against his utterances in this chambers but his words causes a shadow over the reputation of these persons across this nation and indeed across the world and this is a terrible injustice suffice on any individual, I demand an apology on behalf of Mrs. Marin and Mrs. Alpuche, two of the hardest working and impeccable individual at the immigration department.”
The Senate debated and approved two loan motions today, the OPEC Fund for International Development Hummingbird Highway Reconstruction loan for US$12 million; and the US$15 million IDB Sustainable Tourism Project II loan.
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