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The elusive “Mr. Middleton” whose name surfaced at the Senate hearings in regards to the case of 8 missing visas from the Western Border got a face and first name during today’s hearing when Immigration Officer Inez Cassanova took the witness seat. Cassanova is named in the Audit report as an acquaintance of the man who was trading visas with Patrick Tillett for a price of $6,000. But 8 of the visas used in the business in 2012 were linked to stolen visas and this raised alarm. Until today, no one was willing or able to identify Mr. Middleton. When Cassanova took the bench, she commenced with a prepared statement in which she said she will sue anyone who makes false allegations against her.

 

Inez Cassanova -Immigration Officer


“It is my understanding that I am here to be of any possible assistance to the honorable Senate Select Committee in relation to one matter, and not because I am in any way a part of any wrong doing or irregularities at the Immigration Department, that one matter is the mention of my name in relation to missing VISAS at the Immigration Department Benque Viejo Station. I have never worked at the Benque Station nor had any dealings with any VISA at that station, one of the Benque Immigrations officers had mentioned in writing reproduced without any checking in the Audit Report on page 13 of the Audit VISA section that VISAS were handed by a named officer to a person Mr. Middleton who is common-law husband of Officer Casanova. This is completely false and totally wrong no person by that name of Mr. Middleton was ever my common-law husband, this false information has caused a great hurt and embarrassment to myself and my family and I wish to request that the record reflect how totally untruth that information is, I have been advise after today’s public correction, of this defamation of my character that I can pursue legal actions in the Supreme Court against any person who repeats, broadcast or publish this false statement.”


With the statement out of the way, the Senate Select Committee proceeded to query about the visa agent. They found out his first name is Barton and that he lived in Orange Walk. But try as she might, Cassanova could not convince the Senate that her relationship with Mr Middleton was more than a casual affair.


Chairman Aldo Salazar – Member Special Senate Select Committee


“You know Mr. Barton Middleton, you identified Mr. Middleton?


Inez Cassanova -Immigration Officer


“Yes”


Chairman Aldo Salazar – Member Special Senate Select Committee


“Right so I want you to look at this image and tell me if this is the person in question that we are taking about?”

 

Screen_Shot_2017-03-22_at_8.18.14_PMInez Cassanova -Immigration Officer


“Yes Sir”


Chairman Aldo Salazar – Member Special Senate Select Committee


“That is Barton Middleton?”


Inez Cassanova -Immigration Officer


“Yes Sir”


Chairman Aldo Salazar – Member Special Senate Select Committee


“You know where is Mr. Barton Middleton is from?”


Inez Cassanova -Immigration Officer


“I knew Mr. Middleton from Orange Walk due to his brother that work in Orange Walk.”


Chairman Aldo Salazar – Member Special Senate Select Committee


“You know where he lives?”


Inez Cassanova -Immigration Officer


“No Sir, I just know he lives in Orange Walk.”


Chairman Aldo Salazar – Member Special Senate Select Committee


“Ok he lived previously?”


Inez Cassanova -Immigration Officer


“I don’t know if he lived or he lives because I don’t have any contact with him anymore.”


Senator Elena Smith – Member Special Senate Select Committee


“How did you get to know Mr. Barton Middleton?”


Inez Cassanova -Immigration Officer


“I get to know him through his brother because he works in Orange Walk with me at that time.”


Senator Elena Smith – Member Special Senate Select Committee


“Did you and Mr. Middleton had any connection whether through work or is it just because of his brother, what was the relationship between you and Mr Middleton as it relates on how you got to know him, is it through business or is it through family friend, how is it?”


Inez Cassanova -Immigration Officer


“It’s just through his brother I don’t have any business its only through his brother I get to know Mr Middleton.”

 

Senator Elena Smith – Member Special Senate Select Committee


“So is it only know him by name or have you had contact with him on more than one occasion that you can say I know him, I can say I know Mr Bradley but I only know him because he is a lawyer and I know that he had a TV show that kind of thing but I don’t know him personally so I wouldn’t be able to say things about him because I don’t know him personally, how well do you know Mr Barton Middleton?”


Inez Cassanova -Immigration Officer


“I know Mr Middleton because he would usually socialize with other people and that is how I familiarize myself and like I said before he is the brother of Mr Middleton and that is how I knew him there is no other way I don’t have no business nothing with Mr Middleton.”


Senator Elena Smith – Member Special Senate Select Committee


“The matter of you being at the calypso that the Chair had asked before you have been identified by two persons because we were told that you were identified because the person knows your brother who works at BTL and that is how they were able to say specifically that you were the one in the vehicle at the Calypso?”


Inez Cassanova -Immigration Officer


“I might have been in that vehicle but I have known, I am not aware I don’t know of anything that was done.”

 

Senator Elena Smith – Member Special Senate Select Committee


“I just want to know specifically, were you the person in that vehicle, we were not asking if you were at the meeting, you just said to me you might have been in the vehicle, it can’t be might have been it could only be there or you were not there?”


Inez Cassanova -Immigration Officer


“I was not there at no Calypso in no vehicle.”


Senator Elena Smith – Member Special Senate Select Committee


“Your might have been Ms. Casanova is telling me that you are not telling me something remember you swore under oath that you were going to tell the truth we are not saying that you were at the meeting, you are being accused of being in the vehicle when Mr Middleton went to meet with Mr. Mark Tench, Mr. Patrick Tillette and Mr. Eric Chang and they knew it was you because of the connection between the person being your brother and knowing you so were you there?”


Inez Cassanova -Immigration Officer


“No mom”


Senator Elena Smith – Member Special Senate Select Committee


“You were never in any setting; you were never at any time anywhere near Mr Middleton when he met with any persons of that sort?”


Inez Cassanova -Immigration Officer


“No mom”


Senator Elena Smith – Member Special Senate Select Committee


“So then am confused in regards to your answer you might have been.”


Chairman Aldo Salazar – Member Special Senate Select Committee


“There has to be a connection between Middleton meaning that they would associate him with you and that, why didn’t they asked his brother, that’s my query and then there is the testimony that you were present at Princess, so believe that is the gap right now, also I want to ask were you aware that Mr Middleton did Immigration services?”

 

Inez Cassanova -Immigration Officer


“No sir”


Senator Eamon Courtney – Member Special Senate Select Committee


“You said something in answer to Senator Smith, it might be possible that I was in that vehicle at the Calypso, I want to suggest to you that that is in fact what happened you were in that vehicle, it’s impossible for you to tell us categorically that I have never been into the Calypso and then it slips out of your mouth that it might be possible that I might be in that vehicle, it’s not possible and I want to suggest to you that in fact you were in that vehicle?”

 

Ines Casanova – Immigration Officer


“I was never at the Calypso, never.”


Senator Eamon Courtney – Member Special Senate Select Committee


“I am saying to you the question is the same, the evidence we have and I am reading documents that have been provided to us, the documents and the evidence we have is not that you were at the Calypso you were in a vehicle that was at the Calypso and you keep making these little distinctions which are not helping you, you were in that vehicle otherwise you would never had slipped and said it might be possible?”


Ines Casanova – Immigration Officer


“I was not in the vehicle and I could never recall being in no area with whatever mentioned name was in the statement I was never there, never and I am been honest I have never been in no vehicle that I could recall with nobody.”


Senator Eamon Courtney – Member Special Senate Select Committee


“But you see the difficulty is you are making these categorical statements and I don’t mesh with what you have already said, you went further to say that it is possible that you dropped off Mr. Middleton at the Princess, Yes?”

 

Ines Casanova – Immigration Officer


“No”

Senator Eamon Courtney – Member Special Senate Select Committee


“Do you remember saying that?”


Ines Casanova – Immigration Officer


“I didn’t drop of Mr. Middleton.”


Senator Eamon Courtney – Member Special Senate Select Committee


“You said it was possible?”


Ines Casanova – Immigration Officer


“But I did not drop off Mr. Middleton at no Princess.”


Senator Eamon Courtney – Member Special Senate Select Committee


“You see Ms. Casanova…”


Ines Casanova – Immigration Officer


“I would drop off Mr. Middleton if he asked me for a ride somewhere but for me to recall that I drop off Mr. Middleton specifically there, that is not true.”


Senator Eamon Courtney – Member Special Senate Select Committee


“But you see the problem we are having, right, I started by telling that we have no evidence implicating you in facilitating the sale of these VISAS it is simply that your name has come up in a number of occasions and each time we put to you when it came out, you vacillate, you equivocate, you go categorical and then after that something slips out it is clear to me that you were in that vehicle at the Princess that is not the same as saying that you were in the meeting no one has said you were in the meeting.”


Ines Casanova – Immigration Officer


“I was not in the vehicle and I was not in the meeting I cannot recall ever taking Mr. Middleton to any near Princess, close Princess nothing.”


Senator Eamon Courtney – Member Special Senate Select Committee


“Right, the problem you have you see is that we have your transcript and its being recorded and when we read back and see what you say earlier this morning and now it causes a credibility problem.”


In tomorrow’s newscast, we’ll have more on today’s Senate hearing.

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