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Deputy Prime Minister addresses concerns raised by BCCI

The Nationality Scrutinizing Committee has ceased reviewing applications from Guatemalans who want to be granted Belizean Citizenship. The Belize Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI) has been very vocal on their position that no Guatemalans should be granted Belizean Nationality because it is in contravention of the constitution. The Belize National Teachers Union (BNTU) and the National Trade Union Congress of Belize (NTUCB) agree with the BCCI, which has written to the Prime Minister about the matter. Today we asked Deputy Prime Minister Patrick Faber to comment on the matter.

Patrick Faber, Deputy Prime Minister: “It’s a long discussion that we’ve had and there is no renunciation as I understand it in Guatemala and so when it is that a Guatemalan comes to ask for citizenship even if we have our own mechanism to have them say ‘I renounce Guatemala.’ which it should happen that is not guaranteed that they can’t go back to Guatemala and in fact Guatemala sees no renunciation of their citizenship. But as you know Belize and Guatemala are closely linked in many ways, in family relations people who live here and so those are very delicate matters. We’ve discussed them time and time again with the stakeholders and also in our cabinet deliberations and it’s very hard to give you a definitive answer in one direction on that.”

Reporter: Sir the constitution states in regards to that matter that no person who belongs to a country that does not respect Belize’s integrity and things of the like should be granted Belizean citizenship or Belizean nationality. Is that something you support because the BNTU, BCCI, and NTUCB do.

Patrick Faber, Deputy Prime Minister: “Yes. Remember that citizenship that is being considered is not being given to a person who does not go through some kind of renunciation, even if it is only on our part. The issue is the fact that Guatemala doesn’t recognize that renunciation, is it sufficient for us to say that if we get them to pronounce that they renounce Guatemala that that is a renunciation- what is the question at hand not whether or not we should allow people who are from a nation that is of course calling into question our boundaries or in fact question our integrity and sovereignty that is not the question at hand- it’s how we go about getting an official position in terms of that renunciation.”

The BCCI has also shared their position on the matter with the Leader of the Opposition.

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