Earlier we told you of the police report issued on the discovery of several passports in a knapsack this past Tuesday in San Ignacio Town, Cayo District. Since that incident, several politically affiliated persons including PUP Standard Bearers have expressed concerns over the matter, saying that the bag belongs to a UDP operative, Charles Cabral and that he is involved in getting nationality for foreigners in order to have them registered to vote in the upcoming elections. There is however, a glitch to that accusation, as the voters list for each constituency has already been issued to each Standard Bearer, in order for them to review and take any queries they may have with the names on the list, to court. Minister of Immigration, Godwin Hulse spoke with Love News this evening and clarified the matter, saying that the new protocols in the Immigration and Nationality Department were put in place to avoid these very situations.
“The statement that I heard that the passports could be used and people would be given nationality so they can vote; let me clear that up. First of all there is a list of electors which closed in September. Not another soul can be added on that list and everybody who is a candidate should have that list by now so there is no way that names can be added on that list and so that should be known that nobody could be around trying to add names to that list. The list is closed because the list has to be challenged, people go to court and that is why they close it at a certain time. So that is one – so, no amount of people who are made citizens after September 16 can ever vote in this upcoming election that is the first thing. The second thing to know is that since the 6th of January of 2014 no person can become a citizen just by going to the Immigration Department. There is a very strict process and that process requires that your application goes to a nationality committee. On the nationality commission sits the chamber, the churches and sits the unions and that committee meets and reviews the application. The person’s name is published in the gazette before and when the committee approves, the person’s name is published again and it is only then that the Minister can sign the certificate. That is what we put in place from 2014; the law was changed.”