Former Immigration Minister says visa recommendations by Ministers is no big deal

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Updated: January 19, 2017

When the former acting director of Immigration, Maria Marin, appeared before the Senate Special Select Committee, she mentioned that a list of Government Ministers was created. According to Marin, these Ministers were red flagged because they were recommending persons they did not know for visas. What was alarming was the massive amount of visa recommendations that were coming to the Immigration Department. Marian told the committee that the then Immigration Minister, Godwin Hulse, was notified of this concerning trend. Today when asked about it, Hulse told the media that he saw no problem with it.

Minister Godwin Hulse

“Over in my office when I produced a list for you to show that there was like 496 Chinese at the time and almost a million foreigners and other people who didn’t buy and pay for visas. Every Chinese paid $2,000.00 for a visa and I said then, I will say now and I will say forever, the visa is to visit Belize for 30 days, it’s a visitor’s visa. You have to have a criteria to come, a place to stay and a return ticket, you meet that, I wish a billion Chinese would come because if you do the billion by the $2,000.00 per Chinese, we would never have to pay any taxes or work for the rest of my life at least, and everything would be honky dory and free. I don’t have that problem. I also don’t have any problems with any minister recommending, we live in a real world and these guys they get contribution.

Reporter

“Recommending people that you don’t know that was the issue…

Minister Godwin Hulse

“You don’t have to know the people.

Reporter

“And the number that they were recommending as well.

Minister Godwin Hulse

“You don’t have to know the people, if you come to me and you say I want to bring my cousin and you are a contributor to me and you are asking me for a favor and I say, please look at the file for Marisol’s cousin and if all is in order facilitate if you can, what is wrong with that.

Reporter

“That is not the practice anywhere else using the example of the US, I can’t get just any minister to recommend me.

Minister Godwin Hulse

“But the US wants somebody wants there to support you and right and all sorts of things before they give you the letter what is this problem that we are having? You know what I would have a problem with? If a minister goes to a director of immigration and says,  make sure he gets a visa that would be totally and completely wrong.

Reporter

She red flagged these ministers, this is your former immigration director doing this and saying you were made aware of it.

Minister Godwin Hulse

“I don’t care; I’ve said time and time again it could have been anybody that is what representatives do. We have to understand that. Now if they recommended and it was wrong or illegal I would have a problem with it. But if somebody comes to you and says look I want to bring my cousin or my sister, could you facilitate the file or let them speed up the file, what is wrong with that that is what representatives do. People come for recommendations, it is not the recommendation that you do when you get a passport, now that is wrong like Penner recommending this person that he didn’t know, that is crazy! I can’t recommend you if I don’t know you that is to get a passport; but to get a visa to come here you will never know the person how you will ever know the person it’s not that kind of recommendation.

Minister Hulse will be called before the committee but the date has not been fixed. The hearings of the Committee will continue next Wednesday.