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  • Speaker Of The House Signs MOU With FOPREL And SICA

    Friday, 07 September 2018 02:44
  • New International Flight Headed To Belize

    Friday, 07 September 2018 02:46
  • 224 Farmers Graduate From Farmers Field School

    Friday, 07 September 2018 03:09

The testimony given by Former Director of Immigration Ruth Meighan at Wednesday’s Senate Select Committee hearing dominated the news for the admissions she made and positions she stuck to. Tonight there is more to reveal. Meighan asserted during her testimony that she believed that during her tenure she was only required to accept files provided by senior officers and approve them. She admitted, during questioning by Senator Eamon Courtenay, that when it came to passports, her signature could have been used without her knowledge; and when it came to recommending nationality applications, there was no way for her to double check information she was provided.

 

Eamon Courtenay, Member, Senate Select Committee


“Ms. Meighan you are giving me more worries than I thought I had, just to be clear you are telling this committee that whilst you were Director of Immigration it was possible for your signature to be put on a passport without your knowledge?”


Screen_Shot_2017-01-26_at_8.14.55_PMFormer Director Ruth Meighan


“That is the system that we had in place that is the same system that I met there and that is the system that I left there.”  

Eamon Courtenay, Member, Senate Select Committee


“I will you again; could passports be lawfully issued in Belize without the approval of the Director of Immigration?”

 

Former Director Ruth Meighan


“I am not certain because my understanding from getting there and up to leaving is that with my signature on the system as the Director that that is the Directors’ approval so the processing of the passport can be done without my knowledge but with my signature on the passport I believe it was a genuine approved passport.”


Eamon Courtenay, Member, Senate Select Committee


“Alright just so that I can understand and you are telling us that as a matter of routine your signature would be affixed, the signature of the Director of Immigration would be affixed by a Senior Immigration officer once he/she is satisfied that the applicant met the requirement?”


Former Director Ruth Meighan


“Yes”


Eamon Courtenay, Member, Senate Select Committee


“And in that process the Director was not consulted?”


Former Director Ruth Meighan


“Yes”


Eamon Courtenay, Member, Senate Select Committee


“It was not possible for a nationality certificate to be granted to an applicant without your involvement?”

 

Former Director Ruth Meighan


“No because I normally I had to make recommendations to the minister for Nationality.”


Eamon Courtenay, Member, Senate Select Committee


“Right, and what exactly is it that you considered in making a recommendation to grant or not to grant?”

 

Former Director Ruth Meighan


“The recommendation would come to me from the officer in charge indicating that the person met the requirements for Nationality from the officer in charge of the section.”


Eamon Courtenay, Member, Senate Select Committee


“And what would you consider when you made a recommendation to the minister to grant or not to grant?”

 

Former Director Ruth Meighan


“The information that is required given to me by the officer in charge of the section.”


Eamon Courtenay, Member, Senate Select Committee


“Am I to understand that if you said it was Mr. Wade if Mr. Wade sent you an application from an applicant that satisfied a picture, a reference, whatever was required and he says all of those tick, tick, tick you wrote to the minister and say I recommend granting nationality so essentially you were a rubber stamp?”


Former Director Ruth Meighan


“I don’t know.”


Eamon Courtenay, Member, Senate Select Committee


“You don’t know, Mrs. Meighan the Director of Immigration had a right to say yes or no at that point would that be correct?”


Former Director Ruth Meighan


“Yes”


Eamon Courtenay, Member, Senate Select Committee


“Did you ever say no?”


Former Director Ruth Meighan


“Whenever a file comes to me without all the requirements it would be returned for further vetting.”


Eamon Courtenay, Member, Senate Select Committee


“And the converse is as long it had all the requirements you said yes to all of them?”


Former Director Ruth Meighan


“Yes”


Eamon Courtenay, Member, Senate Select Committee


“Am concerned about control, where are these Nationality Certificates physically kept, where in a vault?”

 

Former Director Ruth Meighan


“At the Immigration Department in a Cabinet”


Eamon Courtenay, Member, Senate Select Committee


“Who has control over this Cabinet?”


Former Director Ruth Meighan


“The officer in charge of the section”


Eamon Courtenay, Member, Senate Select Committee


“Right, Mr. Wade whilst you were there and the question I am asking you is how did you satisfied yourself as Director if you did at all that they were issued sequentially and that they were only issued to persons who were entitled to that?”


Former Director Ruth Meighan


“Other than the report that we received monthly or whenever we are going to have a swearing in ceremony that was the check and balance against it, I didn’t had any system in place where I go physically and sit down and check that the numbers were sequentially issued.”


Eamon Courtenay, Member, Senate Select Committee


“So the question I was going to ask you is there was no stock taking with respect to Nationality Certificates?”

 

Former Director Ruth Meighan


“Not as far as I am aware.”

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