Yesterday many residents from the neighboring country of Guatemala, who regularly cross into Belize to work on the strength of their passports alone were halted by Belizean immigration at the Western Border. Information is that Belizean authorities were requesting work permits which the visitors could not produce, as a result reports are that the large group of Guatemalans, who are in disagreement with the new requirements at the western border, have sought political assistance in their country to address the current situation.

Since the requirements were implemented at the border in Benque Viejo, police presence was amped up and yesterday, Senator Godwin Hulse who is the Minister of Immigration explained the new implementations.

 

Screen_Shot_2016-08-16_at_8.14.17_PMSenator Godwin Hulse – Minister of Immigration


“Yes the police and Immigration undertook an exercise this morning because there has been lots of people streaming across the border we understand that come to work and you cannot work in this country as a foreigner without a work permit as simple as that.”


Reporter


“We are hearing that they are quite riled up about it indeed they in fact may end up planning a demonstration tomorrow and even talking about not allowing tourist, not allowing people to go across either way?”

Senator Godwin Hulse – Minister of Immigration


“Well, the Guatemalans can’t demonstrate in Belize.”


Reporter


“They can demonstrate perhaps that area in front of the OAS office.”


Senator Godwin Hulse – Minister of Immigration


“Nobody can’t tell them what to do or not to do in their country we do what we need to do in our country.”   

Reporter


“But Sir, you will end sending reinforcement or try to find out if in fact that is the case?”


Senator Godwin Hulse – Minister of Immigration


“Yeah, the police will have to do what they have to do.”  

   

Immigration Minister also added that work permits are issued to foreigners when there is no qualified Belizean to do the job


Senator Godwin Hulse – Minister of Immigration


“If we were aware of people coming to work without work permit we would have dealt with it a long time ago, it is not question that you cannot work and be in this country illegal that is for sure.”


Reporter


“One person who we spoke with is saying that they do try to apply but it appears that there is a lot of red tape they don’t end up getting their work permits.”


Senator Godwin Hulse – Minister of Immigration


“Remember that work permits are a privilege you know it is not a right, you come to this country to work when you cannot find a Belizean Nationality to do the work, there is a process, you apply, the prospective employer applies to the department of labor he/she says why he needs this person, he has to advertise in a local newspaper for a period of time to try to get a Belizean it is only when that condition cannot be satisfied then the department issues the work permit, over the years and during the period of time that I was minister of labor people want to bring people to sweep, people want to bring people to cut grass, people want to bring people to cook, all sorts of things and yes in the case of cooks for example I can understand in some of the flashy high class restaurant you will say you need some except but lord man people to wash up dishes and we’ve seen all of those ridiculous kinds of applications and there have been people who say we don’t want to hire anybody we want our people who on earth is your people, I will say categorically and I sue to say it when I swear in people Nationals, I said it over and over, when you become a Belizean citizen we are not your people you have joined our family so don’t come back and tell me well I want to bring my people oh no you have now joined my family and this is your people and the people have priority and that is the way it has to be.”  


Reports are that the group has asked the Mayor of Melchor de Mencos, Luis Amado to intercede and address the matter on their behalf.

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