There were many more questionable instances cited by the Auditor General. For instance, there was also the case of eight missing visa foils which the audit report revealed disappeared from the Western border and then ended up being sold in the streets of Belize City. At the time, Senior Immigration Official Edgar Cano was the officer in charge of that section, and was named in the report for his alleged role in the case and today when he appeared before the Committee, he was asked to address it.


Senator Aldo Salazar - Chairman, Senate Select Committee


“Basically its saying that some VISA foils is missing, they turned up in Belize City with Mr. Eric Chan and Patrick Tillette who then according to the Auditor General report brought the VISA stickers to Belmopan to confirm their authenticity and that was confirmed as legitimate and according to the Auditors General says that the decision to issue Belize that there is a contention in here that you decided to, despite the fact that those VISAS went missing and I don’t know why they weren’t taken from Mr. Chan and Mr. Tillette if they had it but the contention in here is that you took the decision to issue VISAS using those numbers despite the fact that the stickers were missing, you read that part of the report?”

 

edgarEdgar Cano – Senior Immigration Officer


“Yes Sir, I read that part of the report.”


Senator Aldo Salazar - Chairman, Senate Select Committee


“Can you first of all say whether you did in fact give approval for VISAS to be issued to individuals without the VISAS stickers because they were missing?”


Edgar Cano – Senior Immigration Officer


“What I can say and I don’t see it mentioned anywhere in the Audit Report that I was on vacation leave when that incident happened, I don’t see it any at all on the Audit Report and I think that should have been included in the report as well, I was out from the 12th to the 23rd of December and then I returned to duty on the 4th of January after an extension and I have copies of those.”


Senator Aldo Salazar - Chairman, Senate Select Committee


“Ok I understand that but the question is whether you did give approval for VISAS to be issued without the stickers whether it was at another time or another point, I understand you said you were out?”


Edgar Cano – Senior Immigration Officer


“Yes Sir”


Senator Aldo Salazar - Chairman, Senate Select Committee


“But my question is whether you gave approval?”


Edgar Cano – Senior Immigration Officer


“No, sir”


Senator Aldo Salazar - Chairman, Senate Select Committee


“So the Auditors’ General is wrong.”


Edgar Cano – Senior Immigration Officer


“Well, I didn’t give any approval or anything any at all.”


Senator Aldo Salazar - Chairman, Senate Select Committee


“This is where the Auditor General got it from Vernon Leslie said; the decision to issue Belize VISAS without the stickers were approved by OIC E. Cano was done for two reasons primarily to give our investigation teams sufficient time to find the perpetrators, secondly to avoid excessive revenue loss, I can understand the thought process if that is the case to avoid the revenue loss etcetera, OIC E. Cano was reluctant to issue the VISAS without stickers but eventually he gave the approval in doing this we were given ample time to find out what occurred and we avoid the revenue loss, so what you are saying is that if Vernon Leslie said this he is being untruthful?”


Edgar Cano – Senior Immigration Officer


“Sir, I give no approval to Vernon Leslie, I give nothing in writing to him, I was on vacation leave and that is his statement or his whatever/declaration but I gave non to Vernon Leslie, I was out of the office.”


Senator Elena Smith - Member, Senate Select Committee


“You said you were in vacation during that period, did you not report to work despite being on vacation, and you did not go to your work space despite being on vacation?”


Edgar Cano – Senior Immigration Officer


“I did not reported, I was on vacation”


Senator Elena Smith - Member, Senate Select Committee


“So you did not went to work any at all during that period, was there an investigation carried out by the ministry of the Public Service or by the Public Service Commission on this matter, to which you had to be there?”


Edgar Cano – Senior Immigration Officer


“Yes”


Senator Elena Smith - Member, Senate Select Committee


“Was it not determined during that investigation that you had in fact gone into work during the period mentioned here?”


Edgar Cano – Senior Immigration Officer


“No, none at all”


Senator Elena Smith - Member, Senate Select Committee


“So there was no query as to whether you could have given approval despite being on vacation?”


Edgar Cano – Senior Immigration Officer


“I could not give any approval and I would not give any approval for such.”


Senator Elena Smith - Member, Senate Select Committee


“I am asking if during the investigation if they query that matter the persons who you were brought before di they ask you about that matter, did they asked you if you have gone into work during that period despite being on vacation?”

 

Edgar Cano – Senior Immigration Officer


“No they didn’t ask me, I was invited as a witness to the public service commission hearing.”


Senator Mark Lizarraga – Senate Select Committee Member


“When Mr Tench discovered that the eight foils were missing who would he had reported that to?”


Edgar Cano – Senior Immigration Officer


“He mentioned to me that he would have, he called me and he said that he had discovered that those were missing.”

 

Senator Mark Lizarraga – Senate Select Committee Member


“So he called you to tell you even though you were on holiday, so you knew?”

Edgar Cano – Senior Immigration Officer


“Yes”


Senator Mark Lizarraga – Senate Select Committee Member


“And what did you do when you received that call?”


Edgar Cano – Senior Immigration Officer


“I advise him to immediately report it to the headquarters.”


Senator Mark Lizarraga – Senate Select Committee Member


“And that would have been the director?”


Edgar Cano – Senior Immigration Officer


“Yes”


Pastor Ashley Rocke, Member, Senate Select Committee


“The time of the occurrence of these eight VISA foils it went missing you are saying that you were on vacation, who was left in charge when you were not there?”


Edgar Cano – Senior Immigration Officer


“Mr. Leslie”


Pastor Ashley Rocke, Member, Senate Select Committee


“So Mr. Leslie would have to give account on what really transpired that time?”


Edgar Cano – Senior Immigration Officer


“Exactly so”


Pastor Ashley Rocke, Member, Senate Select Committee


“He was a supervisor?”

Edgar Cano – Senior Immigration Officer

“Yes”

Pastor Ashley Rocke, Member, Senate Select Committee


“Do you know that whether anybody was brought up for these files that were missing, do you know?”

 

Edgar Cano – Senior Immigration Officer


“I know there were in front of the Public Service Commission.”


Pastor Ashley Rocke, Member, Senate Select Committee


“Do you know if the police was involved?”


Edgar Cano – Senior Immigration Officer


“No, they have been in front of the Public Service Commission for those already.”


Pastor Ashley Rocke, Member, Senate Select Committee


“Do they do still retain their jobs?”


Edgar Cano – Senior Immigration Officer


“Yes”


Senator Mark Lizarraga – Senate Select Committee Member


“Did you make recommendations after this incident?”


Edgar Cano – Senior Immigration Officer


“Well, the only recommendation could have been for safety and security equipment.”


Senator Mark Lizarraga – Senate Select Committee Member


“Did you make a recommendation?”


Edgar Cano – Senior Immigration Officer


“Verbally, yes”


Senator Mark Lizarraga – Senate Select Committee Member


“Verbally, to the director, you did make a recommendation and the recommendation was to get a safe?”

 

Edgar Cano – Senior Immigration Officer


“Yes”

Share this post

This content has been locked. You can no longer post any comment.