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Breaking the Human Smuggling Ring

Monday was celebrated as World Refugee Day. The day is important because as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Eamon Courtenay stated it is important for countries like Belize to recommit to upholding the rights of those who desperately need protection. Unfortunately, refugees and asylum seekers feeling to Belize fall victims to human smugglers in Belize. In a recent press briefing, Minister Courtenay made it quite clear that Belize will not be a party to this illegal activity. So much so that Cabinet decided that chartered flights originating from Haiti with Haitians will no longer be granted permission to land in Belize. Courtenay is considering revoking visa-free travel to Belize for Haitians. Also, in the past few months, there have been several operations that led to the detention of undocumented migrants and human smugglers. The most recent was the case of a BDF soldier who was caught in the Cayo District transporting 13 undocumented Ecuadorians. It is believed that the BDF soldier is just a pawn to bigger fishes controlling the human smuggling ring. Minister of State in the Ministry of National Defence and Border Security, Oscar Mira, says authorities are actively working on bringing down the human smuggling ring.

Oscar Requena, Minister of State, Ministry of Defence and Border Security: “I will not say that perhaps there is not other persons involved I will never say that. We have noticed in though that we rarely had these incidents in the Belize Defence Force. We don’t work alone in the Belize Defence Force so it’s not as easy. We always work in teams so this time the investigation is going on right now and if there are others in this ring then we’ll make sure that we bring them and get them charged and do whatever we need to do. As I said before one person will not tarnish the good name that the Belize Defence Force has attained in these last years that they have been working. We have had issues in the past from many other nationalities coming to Belize and using Belize. I think if you heard the Foreign Minister speaking last week about Hatians coming and we have had those coming in through the border as well not only by air.”