During Friday’s House of Representatives several bills were dealt with. One was an amendment to the Immigration Act in respect to temporary residency. The bill seeks to add the C.E.O. in the Ministry of Labor to the Visa Vetting Committee and clarify the role of the C.E.O. in the Ministry of Home Affairs. The Opposition however, raised some serious questions in regard to the bill especially considering the ongoing Senate inquiry.
And while on the topic of the Immigration Amendment Bill - Opposition Leader John Briceno also introduced the notion of: no more checking in at the border when going to Mexico, an idea bought forward some time ago by Orange Walk residents who are concerned over the necessity of having Belizeans check in at the border during every exit.
Honorable John Briceno – Opposition Leader of People’s United Party
“Madam Speaker, Since we are looking at that amendment maybe we also need to look at amending the Immigration law at these having Belizeans citizens leaving the border every time that they leave the border that they have to stamp their passports or their permits you know when they leaving to Chetumal or Melchor de Mencos because this is actually a relic of the colonial Masters this is a law as I am told from the 1950’s and Belizeans in any instances feel humiliated the way they are treated at the immigration Border when they have to go in and they have to stamp, even if they want to go to the Casino in this side of Belize they still require to be able to have to stamp their passports which is in Belizean territory so if we are talking about making these amendments maybe there is one that we can consider Madam Speaker, because if you unstamped it they charge you one thousand dollars if they take it to court, and ironically I mean, the Mexicans are opening up their arms to us Belizeans to go to México they give us a card we can go to Quintana Roo, we can go to Campeche, to Tabasco for seven days and they don’t have to even harass you we need to be able to do that and offer that to the Mexicans so that they can come easily to our country because as I understand the Mexican government wants to promote his freedom of movement between the two countries we are freely moving into México but we need to give the Mexicans that opportunity also so that they could come and spend their money into our country, Madam Speaker I think that Belizeans should be allowed to leave the country freely and the stamping of passport is just a waste of time and it creates and unnecessary bottleneck at the borders so am appealing to the minister of Immigration that it is time to review this law which is a relic of our Colonial Masters and to modernize it and to allow Belizeans to move freely in and out of the country, thank your Madam Speaker.”
Honorable Beverly Castillo – Minister of Immigration
“On the matter of scanning the passports and the permits at the border, that is a matter that is well prescribed for in the law that the borders are defined under Section 23-24 of the Act on the scanning, Immigration responsibility also covers the border protection and we look at the risks that could be involved in persons trafficking the border in and out without stamping and without there is the matter of human trafficking, money laundering and all the other ills that can happen from not manning our borders so I provide that information for the Honorable Leader from Orange Central.”