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SENATE REPORT

Over a year and Senate report not finalized

More than four years later and following 13 months of testimonies the Belizean people are yet to see the final report from the Special Select Senate Inquiry.  Senator Aldo Salazar was dubbed the Chairman of the Special Select Committee that was investigating wrongdoings in the Ministry of Immigration. 

More than four years later and following 13 months of testimonies the Belizean people are yet to see the final report from the Special Select Senate Inquiry.  Senator Aldo Salazar was dubbed the Chairman of the Special Select Committee that was investigating wrongdoings in the Ministry of Immigration.  Those wrongdoings ranged from the issuance of falsified visas to passports.  The latest reports given to the media are that the opposition senator is not putting in his pound to have the report finalized.  Salazar explained what has transpired over the last five months and how the PUP Senator has referred to the report as ‘half baked’.

As it relates to holding persons responsible for the issuance of fake visas and illegal passports, Senator Salazar explained that this is a decision for the Director of Public Prosecutions.  He added that the DPP did not have to wait for the final report to start holding persons liable.

Aldo Salazar, Senator: “The DPP could have decided from inception. In fact during the public hearings we did send information to the Director of Public Prosecution so the DPP has always had that power to look at anything from inception and determine whether or not there’s anybody that she wanted to investigate or to have any charges brought. And I could say this the draft report, the minority report, that now exists does make recommendations for her to look at the product of the committee’s report and to make a determination whether any charges should be brought. The committee itself does not have any standing to say to recommend that charges be brought because that is not the role of the committee and I think that if the committee had gotten into that we would have then be obscuring our role and we would have been subject to challenge because I don’t think we can really do that. You will recall that at the time when the committee started it’s hearings which had been towards the end of 2016 the Wong Hong Kim scandal had already broken and therefore the department had already reacted and the government had already reacted to that scandal by taking certain steps. So one of the steps for example was the vetting committee for visas which never existed before so some of the things we were looking at had already been addressed and that is addressed in draft that I did and the amended report that the other senators have agreed to, has already address that some of those things that were looked at and we’re really looking at a situation where some things have already been addressed and the situation is really whether we want to – well not whether but I think the report will show that we need to enhance a little bit more some of the things that we’re doing in the department.”