Zuniga comments on Guatemalans renouncing their nationality

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Updated: October 12, 2017

On Wednesday CEO in the Ministry of Immigration Edmund Zuniga appeared before the Special Senate Select Committee. PUP Senator Eamon Courtney raised the issue on the process of Guatemalans renouncing their nationality. According to Zuniga, in Belize part of the process requires Guatemalan applicants to sign a renunciation document before a Justice of the Peace, and more recently applicants are being asked to submit their Guatemalan passports to the Guatemalan Embassy in Belize. That’s part of the process, and another is for applicants to go through a process with Guatemalan authorities. CEO Zuniga explained what they understand happens on that end and more notably, he says that since they began investigating that process, no application from Guatemalan nationals has been processed.

 

Edmund Zuniga – CEO of Immigration

“I understand there is a procedure in Guatemala which requires the individual to go before one of their offices I think their registry and the person’s name is then struck out of their register of citizens before that renunciation is accepted that is my understanding of it.”

Eamon Courtney, Senator

“The procedure for renunciation in Guatemala is the Nationality Committee doing anything to find out what that procedure is?”

Edmund Zuniga – CEO of Immigration

“Yes the committee is.”

Eamon Courtney, Senator

“You are expecting to know what it is, is that what you’re saying?”

Edmund Zuniga – CEO of Immigration

“Pardon?”

Eamon Courtney, Senator

“Are you doing anything to find out specifically from Guatemala what the procedure for renunciation of Guatemalan Nationality is?”

Edmund Zuniga – CEO of Immigration

“Yes the committee is yes.”

Eamon Courtney, Senator

“So you expect the committee to find out what the proper procedure is?”

Eamon Courtney, Senator

“Anytime soon?”

Edmund Zuniga – CEO of Immigration

“In fact that matter has been a part of the committee’s conversation for the last maybe four months.”

Eamon Courtney, Senator

“But up to now we don’t know what the proper procedure is?”

Edmund Zuniga – CEO of Immigration

“The committee has a general idea of what the procedure is.”

Eamon Courtney, Senator

“No but we need more than that. We need the legal procedure isn’t that correct? That’s what our constitution requires.”

Edmund Zuniga – CEO of Immigration

“Yes.”

Eamon Courtney, Senator

“So when is the committee going to find out exactly what needs to be done?”

Edmund Zuniga – CEO of Immigration

“We have gotten some preliminary documents. I’m not certain if we need additional documents and when and whom we can request those from at this point in time.”

Eamon Courtney, Senator

“CEO are you prepared to assure this committee that until the Nationality Vetting Committee knows what the law is for renunciation in Guatemala that no application for nationality by a Guatemalan will be processed?”

Edmund Zuniga – CEO of Immigration

“Yeah in fact since the conversation started no application for from any Guatemalan has been processed.”

Eamon Courtney, Senator

“And that will remain so until the position is resolved?”

Edmund Zuniga

“Well put it this way, it is a committee I am one vote on the committee.”

Eamon Courtney, Senator

“And that is the way you will vote?”

Edmund Zuniga – CEO of Immigration (laughs)

When asked, the CEO said he supports the review of all nationalities issued to Guatemalans and the subsequent revocation of these nationalities once it can be established that they did not satisfy the requirements for nationality renunciations in Guatemala or received their nationality unlawfully.