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Ministry of Immigration Says Report of Immigration Officers Detained for Extortion is False

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Foreign Trade and Immigration say that the report that two Immigration Department officers were detained on Friday for extortion is untrue. The report was made by one television station and shared on social media several times which prompted a rare Saturday press release from the Ministry. In the press statement, the Ministry says that on Friday, a COPA flight, originating in Panama had eleven individuals who were Refused Leave to Land in Belize. That’s because they did not meet the minimum requirements for entry into the country. Seven of these individuals, four Colombians and three nationals of the Dominican Republic, were processed and returned to Panama on the same day. However, four of them, two Dominicans, a Venezuelan, and a Brazilian, could not be processed before the COPA flight departed. As a result, they were held overnight by the Police Department, and were scheduled to go back to Panama via TAG Airlines on Saturday. The press release comes after the report surfaced that the two immigration officers had extorted about five thousand five hundred U.S. dollars from two Jamaicans, who came to Belize on Friday. The Ministry says, for its part, it will continue to monitor and manage migration flows for the national security and economic development of Belize while quote “as we strive to enhance citizen and migrant services by becoming a modern, innovated, and interconnected organization to facilitate human mobility” End quote.