The Opposition People’s United Party’s bolstered campaign to force the Barrow Administration to resign or call fresh elections starts tomorrow when the Senate meets in Belmopan. The Opposition Senators are expected to ramp up the pressure and introduce a motion to investigate the findings contained in Auditor General’s special audit into the scandals at the Immigration Department. Now, if it feels like de ja vu, it is because back in November 2013 the Opposition had also introduced a similar motion following the Penner scandal. That attempt was unsuccessful however because the then Immigration Minister, Senator Godwin Hulse refused to step away from the Senate meeting despite the conflict of interest in his participation; enabling the Government’s majority members to vote against the motion. At tomorrow’s Senate meeting, Senator Hulse who is now the Police Minister, will be there once more. Yesterday the Opposition Leader indicated that Hulse will be asked to recuse himself when it’s voting time.

Screen_Shot_2016-08-29_at_8.40.38_PMHonorable John Briceno - Opposition Leader People’s United Party

“When Immigration Minister Godwin Hulse and Director Maria Marin were informed about the illegal economic citizenship scheme they did nothing about it, not an investigation, not even a move to revoke the fraudulent passports, nothing, they did not a single thing, they just continued with business as usual even though the sale of Belizean passport were being advertised all over the internet. I have instructed our Senators to call for a full Senate investigation into the Nationality/Passport Fiasco and I invite other Senators to join in this effort on behalf of the Belizean people, those responsible must be held accountable, we are also demanding that Senator Hulse must recuse himself from any debate or vote on Immigration matters.  Our Senators will also be tabling a motion to insist that the government immediately sign the United Nations’ Convention on Corruption.  No, Mr. Prime Minister, it is not too expensive to enact the UN Convention; it is a lot more expensive not to fight corruption with all our might, every dollar that is stolen is a dollar less we have to provide care and attention to the 43% of people languishing in poverty, every day we allow corruption to continue we betray the living and the unborn in this country, we are committed as a party not just to changing this government and writing the wrong but we are committed to radically overhaul this system of governance that allow such rampant and rank corruption to continue.”

Such an investigation would allow the Senate to appoint a Commission of Inquiry which would have the power to order persons to appear and testify at public hearings. This Commission would ask the right questions and put on the spot everyone and almost anyone named or involved in the scandals listed in the Auditor General’s report. The special audit’s investigation findings into the fraudulent issuance is revolting and the Opposition Leader believes it must be dealt with properly.

Honorable John Briceno - Opposition Leader People’s United Party

“Almost 15 years ago, a PUP government made a sale of Belizean Passports unconstitutional, the people have spoken on consecutive elections that they were absolutely against the sale of our patrimony, what the audit reveals is a thriving modern day Belize Economic citizenship Program despite the constitutional outlaw, despite the stated wishes of the people it is now established fact that this UDP administration has engaged in the bucket sale of passports.  This Barrow administration has for a long time been wantonly trafficking in VISAS, make no mistake they have done so illegally, unlawfully and criminally, the auditor general report contains over 700 pages of pure rampant corruption. The schemers were getting away so easily, they became sloppy, sloppy with the backdating, sloppy with the records keeping, in one case Lulumila Shengilla from Leni guard, USSR received the ok for a VISA on November 12TH 2012 but that person got a passport on March 2nd 2012, a full eight months before the VISA was granted and according to the Audit Report the fraudulent Nationality Certificate was used to process the Belize passport was dated eleven years earlier, on April 12th 2001.  The backdating of VISAS stamps, dates of arrival, temporary employment permits and fraudulent nationality certificates were so pervasive and so frequent in one case, if it was not so outrageous and sad it is funny, in one case they put the name of a PUP minister of Immigration on a nationality certificate dated August 12th 1998 as you would know PUP did not win the General elections until 1998 until August 27th.”

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