Former UDP politician, Carlos Perdomo, who served as Minister of Immigration for the entire first term of the Barrow Administration, from 2008 to 2012, testified before the Senate Select Committee that is investigating allegations of immigration irregularities and wrongdoing from January 2012 to October 2013 cited in the Auditor General’s special audit report on Immigration.


Perdomo is featured prominently in the report, and for weeks has faced very serious allegations that as Minister he was reckless in approving a number of Immigration documents including nationality certificates that did not meet all the requirements.


Today when Perdomo got the opportunity to explain, he indicated that he had a helpful style as the Minister and he always tried to help especially those who had a frustrating experience. He also claimed that he tried to be as diligent as he could.


Screen_Shot_2017-06-07_at_8.15.29_PMCarlos Perdomo – Former Minister of Immigration and Nationality


“For those of us that have been minister you know you get visitors to your office asking for assistance, in my case it was usually services that were not being done and they want somebody to please find out why so whenever they came to my office this is regards to Immigration. So I would always write down the BNA # and then after the meeting or after a week I would have a certain amount I would write a note to Mrs. Ruth and say these people have visited me; something like that I don’t remember the exact words, please see why it’s been taking a while and  if everything is in order just get back to them or get back to me so I can tell them why and sometimes and many times they get back to me and say well the person change address but I use to write the notes yes.”


Senator Elena Smith – Member Special Senate Select Committee


“So the notes were basically to seek…what is going on… was it at any time to speed up a process for a person?”


Carlos Perdomo – Former Minister of Immigration and Nationality


“I don’t recall ever writing to speed up but just to help, but that wouldn’t say, am not saying that in asking to help you, you do anything that is not possible, that is not legal, and that is not fulfilling all requirements.”


Senator Elena Smith – Member Special Senate Select Committee


“So you would assist but ensuring that all the requirements are met?”


Carlos Perdomo – Former Minister of Immigration and Nationality


“Yes, that was always understood with me and my ministry no matter who it was, I would always say make sure everything is in order; to the CE, to anybody to the Director, when I visited policemen at their station it was always to try to help.”


But the facts detailed in the Auditor General’s report indicate otherwise. As mentioned, there were multiple cases of questionable approvals and during this morning’s testimony. One of those cases, involving a native of Saudi Arabia and national of Palestine Mohamed Mohamed Khalil Owemer, was raised by Senator Mark Lizarraga. Senator Lizarraga pointed out that the Auditor General’s investigations showed that Perdomo signed and approved Owemer’s nationality certificate on June 21st 2011 even though Senior Immigration Officer Gordon Wade raised a number of questions.

 

Perdomo claimed he was caught off-guard by the case, and eventually admitted that there may have been cases when his strictness may have waned.


Carlos Perdomo – Former Minister of Immigration and Nationality


“I don’t know the case.”


Senator Mark Lizarraga – Member Special Senate Select Committee


“I understand minister, I understand and I know that this is…”


Carlos Perdomo – Former Minister of Immigration and Nationality


“But if she gives the ok why not, she is the person in charged.”


Senator Mark Lizarraga – Member Special Senate Select Committee


“So you would proceed?”


Carlos Perdomo – Former Minister of Immigration and Nationality


“Yes I would but I don’t know about this case, am trying to answer your question away from this case, am seeing this the first time.”


Senator Mark Lizarraga – Member Special Senate Select Committee


“That’s all am trying to do is to get some clarity, you see, because earlier you said that you would look for both approvals on the minute sheet …”


Carlos Perdomo – Former Minister of Immigration and Nationality


“That is my usual way to do it but I am not aware of this case but am reading it and it say Mrs. Meighan says its ok well I would sign.”


Senator Mark Lizarraga – Member Special Senate Select Committee


“But you are saying that perhaps there may have been times when you deviated; let me finish with the question, so you agreeing that there were times when you deviated from…”


Carlos Perdomo – Former Minister of Immigration and Nationality


“I would if Mrs. Ruth says its ok then I would sign…”


Senator Mark Lizarraga – Member Special Senate Select Committee


“I just want to be clear because it’s for the record, all am trying to do is to give you an opportunity to set things clear at least in my mind, that’s all minister.”


Carlos Perdomo – Former Minister of Immigration and Nationality


“The usual way is to look for two of them but I am not aware of this case but am reading what you just showed me for the first time.”


Senator Mark Lizarraga – Member Special Senate Select Committee


“So it’s possible then that you broke your rule and could break it again …”


Carlos Perdomo – Former Minister of Immigration and Nationality


“Yes Sir, no, no, which rules I broke, I did not broke any rules.”

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