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Director of Immigration not satisfied with changes made within Department

Diana Locke was appointed Director of Immigration in 2016 with the intent to reinstate integrity and trust within the Department. Like at her first appearance, today Locke was questioned about the changes that have been made within the Immigration Department since the auditor general’s report was concluded. Several changes have been made but Locke is not satisfied as yet. According to Locke, there is the need for a highly trained unit to properly investigate any and all questionable document presented to the Immigration Department.

Diana Locke – Director of Immigration

“No I am not satisfied but what I would like to see done is for us to have a proper investigation unit that is highly trained in looking at the documentation that is presented to us. We do receive documentation at this time which I don’t think that our staff has the capability, they don’t have the training or knowledge to assess those documents properly and so they do make recommendations. We also at the Visa Vetting Committee look at the documents and sometimes you have an uneasy feeling, sometimes you can’t find anything wrong and therefore you would then have to go ahead and proceed to issue if the person was stating they are coming for a reason which can be verified by a sponsor here in Belize or something of that sort. So I think the vetting of the documents or checking of the authenticity of the documents that kind of thing we certainly would need more help in for the visas. It would be nice if we could have an online system which removes some of the subjectivity like the interviews and there would still be the vetting that would be done on our end but that is a process that we would have to look at very carefully.”

Aldo Salazar, Senator

“So you would want to have a step prior to the visa vetting committee which is a document review unit which has some sort of -.”

Diana Locke – Director of Immigration

“We do have an investigation unit but they are tasked with so many different things that-.”

Aldo Salazar, Senator

“But you’re thinking of a sort of forensic expertise in terms of documentation and that kind of thing.”

Diana Locke – Director of Immigration

Well it would be nice if we had a unit such as that, not necessarily just for visas but for every section that we can run every document that comes to the department that we would like to question through that unit that would be helpful.