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CEO Zuniga comments on the 2000 nationality documents

During the morning session, PUP Senator Eamon Courtney questioned CEO Edmund Zuniga on his position on the revocation of nationality documents that were granted to person who did not qualify. The Senator said that much evidence on this has come before the committee and asked the CEO if he has taken any action to address those cases.

Eamon Courtney, Senator

“There is a list of 2000 or so people who received nationality in a very short period of time directly connected to elections, many of whom from testimony in here did not qualify; is anything being done with respect to that list?”

Edmund Zuniga – CEO of Immigration Department

” Not as fast I know, no.”

Eamon Courtney, Senator

“Is there any reason why nothing is being done?”

Edmund Zuniga – CEO of Immigration Department

“No. I just believe it’s a matter of prioritization.”

Eamon Courtney, Senator

“Would you agree and would you support an immediate review of that list, the files, calling in the persons and where they were not lawfully granted revocation of nationality for those persons?”

Edmund Zuniga – CEO of Immigration Department

“Well an immediate review or a review to take place as expeditiously as possible. Revocation of nationalities in my view is a little complex. Well first of all it’s a matter for the Minister of Immigration but lets say for instance the person who got his nationality ten or fifteen years ago who now has a Belizean child you revoke that person’s nationality has a kind of a domino effect, one has to be able to determine how we are going to deal with those long term effects and we haven’t reached that point in our conservations.”

Eamon Courtney, Senator

“Why would you as CEO concern yourself with the consequence of the revocation of that nationality.”

Edmund Zuniga – CEO of the Immigration Department

” No I would be concerned because there are two things, one I believe that it is not in all cases that those individuals who get the final product were aware that they may have been duped. But also you might end up with individuals who are stateless and so what happens? It’s a government policy issue which has to be looked at.”

Eamon Courtney, Senator

“I’m concerned. I just want to be clear. Your position is that before nationality is revoked for a person who obtained it fraudulently the question of the consequence of that revocation needs to be considered before the Minister decides to actually do the revocation?”

Edmund Zuniga – CEO of Immigration Department

“I personally I believe so. I believe we must look at it.”

Eamon Courtney, Senator

“Alright. Very disturbing but I respect your position.”

Today’s session was adjourned at midday.