So what does former Minister of Immigration Senator Godwin Hulse have to say about the scandalous audit report? This afternoon, the media caught up with him and while he was reluctant to speak about the damning auditor general reports on the Immigration and Nationality Department he did state that most of what is in the report is nothing new.

 

hulseSenator Godwin Hulse – Minister of Immigration


“First of all, as you know going back more than a year and a half ago when I said in the Senate let the Audit General do their work and they did their work so the reports came out and the only thing I would way to start with that I understand the Auditor general did not comply with what would be a requirement to do a management letter to the CEO and other people, I personally was not asked any question by the Auditor General, not a question by any of their people, so I can’t comment on that and my understanding is that they didn’t speak to the CEO of the ministry at the time but apart from that majority of the things that come out are things that we’ve heard sometimes we have seen from the Penner situation and some of the things that I myself undertook to look into but I won’t comment on any thing specifically until it goes to the house on Friday when it is laid on the table and of course on Wednesday when it goes to the Senate.”


In the report, the auditor general recommends that a police investigation follow specifically as it relates to criminal charges that in her view, could be pursued against Elvin Penner and Alfonso Cruz in relation to the issuance of the Kim Won Hong Passport. But is Hulse, as Police Minister, prepared to follow the auditor general’s recommendations?

 

Senator Godwin Hulse – Minister of Immigration


“The Auditor General recommendations are the recommendation and we look closely and see where we can go with it, one of the things I want to say though, following up on that is that we must be careful that we do not introduce other issues over and above what has been done , you for example, may forget that we have already clipped certain people’s passports, we have already rescinded their nationality and those things have happened and have never happened before and this minister will say categorically, I note that the media talked about two nationalities I signed, yes I give Jules Vasquez a complete and full interview of that explaining the entire process of how; when a document comes to the minister if it is escorted by all the necessary documentation and signed off by the officers you don’t expect the minister to open up an investigation in the matter, there still have been a lot of files that come where we if you are not so sure you double check and you say ok, ok but I will say this and I will say this forever, those who get through the system whenever this minister find that in fact they did sway in properly their wings are going to be clipped, I have done that already, we’ve signed already rescinding orders for nationalities for people so and because I can do that with confidence because nobody gave me anything to get theirs so whomever they get it or whomever they go through go back and get it from that person certainly it is not me.”


Reporter


“But that speaks for the people who paid for this to happen but what about the ones that were paid, the Prime Minister had made a big deal about factual and legal guilt but had there been no intervention with the police conducting its investigation allowing to go the full extent of an investigation they could have come up with the legal guilt   ?”

 

Senator Godwin Hulse – Minister of Immigration 


“Maybe but I don’t know about that, I wasn’t responsible at that time for any suggestion from the Commissioner and first time I am hearing that he had stop the investigation, I can assure under my watch it wouldn’t be stopped  for sure what is to happen will happen.”


Hulse lamented how difficult it is to investigate these cases:


Senator Godwin Hulse – Minister of Immigration


“It is hard sometimes to prove who is paid because there are no receipts, there is no transactions, people pass money under the table and all kind of way we know that we are in Belize and we know how that go, it is just like campaign funds and campaign financing, people don’t put their names on documentations like the Germans when they hand you something you hand on and who get and it is me versus you say, you say you give me ten thousand and I say you didn’t gave me nothing.”


Reporter


“In the case of the VISA there were in fact memorandums in particular for Honorable Elvin Penner who singed recommending that these people get VISAS and the Auditor General says that that was intervening in the VISA issuance process which was in contravention of the nationality act.”


Senator Godwin Hulse – Minister of Immigration


“How it was? What she is talking two things, yes but Nationality and VISAS are definitely two different things.”

 

Reporter


“Well the law relating to VISA Issuance?”


Senator Godwin Hulse – Minister of Immigration


“But let me make it clear again, if I said if you come to me and I am an area representative you say look man I want to bring my brother, my sister from Brazil and I apply for a VISA from Immigration and they take long…”

 

Reporter


“It wasn’t brothers, it wasn’t relatives, it was Chines nationals that they didn’t know?”


Senator Godwin Hulse – Minister of Immigration


“But you don’t have to know the person coming, who sad you have to know the person coming, you know the person who is asking you…”


bz20130712-2Reporter


“The relatives usually apply or the person himself who want to come?”


Senator Godwin Hulse – Minister of Immigration


“Listen to me, if you want to bring your friend that you met in Brazil or a friend that you met in Cuba to Belize has happened many times and you can’t get the VISA because it is taking too long what is wrong in asking anybody or if you ask the Director to please expedite the process what would be wrong? Is if you instruct the director or any officer to provide the VISA but nothing is wrong in saying can you expedite the process people do that all the time, can you expedite the process am taking too long, that is what representatives do now if you have concrete evidence that you were paid to do it and you went in there and say you do it that is a whole different story.”


Reporter


“How about the case of Honorable Edmond Castro with Alverine Burges?”


Senator Godwin Hulse – Minister of Immigration


“But that case went to court.”


Reporter


“You are trying to explain things away, if it is a few relatives you are talking about then you understand but then these are hundreds and upon hundreds VISAS application.”


Senator Godwin Hulse – Minister of Immigration


“It could be a million it makes no difference if people come to you and says I’ve applied for a VISA properly, remember it is not nationality but to visit our country and remember when those people visit our country we welcome the visitors and the tourists and the people say it is taking long and I want to bring the people what is wrong in saying to the director do your work and expedite the thing no, you don’t say give him, that means that all the conditions are met they can support themselves, they can pay their stay, they can pay their way to return and they can pay the fee for the VISA what is wrong with that?”


Reporter


“A lot of that documentation is missing that is what the Auditors’ general report shows?”


Senator Godwin Hulse – Minister of Immigration


“That is another matter”


Reporter


“Sir, would you support a Senate investigation into this matter?”


Senator Godwin Hulse – Minister of Immigration


“Wait until the Senate meets and see what they will call for.”

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