The Public Service Union has called for systematic changes within the Immigration Department, particularly as it relates to passports. The comments from President Dean Flowers come in the wake of a sting on Friday, which the department undertook after there were complaints of operatives selling spots in the line at the Belmopan office. Chief Executive Officer, Doctor Gilroy Middleton told us that thus far, one security was fired earlier this year and a second is facing disciplinary action. Flowers spoke to Love News.
Dean Flowers, President, PSU: “I think we need to at least recognise the effort, that there is an attempt to break up this alleged ring. What is unfortunate, however, is that in the attempt to break up this alleged ring I think it is, it leaves a lot to be desired when it’s the security that you would actually feel proud about reporting has been identified as the persons culpable or one of the persons culpable. I mean, this is nothing in my view, if it is that it’s only the security that has been identified. This is nothing but looking for a scapegoat to say well we’re doing something. The problem within the Immigration Department is clearly something systematic and removing the security officer, who I am certain that if he forms part of any ring, gets pittance. Passport business, nationality business is big money so my advice to the CEO is that he needs to change his focus from off the security officer and look within his department.”
The process to get a passport is seen as an opportunity for corrupt practices, practices which are perceived as corrupt by members of the public service. Flowers says that the public is quick to heap criticism on the public officers, but he says that the public too must take responsibility for their actions in the process.
Dean Flowers, President, PSU: “I don’t view the current crisis that exists where we know there is hustling as one that we should try to brand and label the public offices therein as corrupt. I must take this opportunity, Dale, to remind the Belizean people that if it is that somebody is hustling within the Immigration Department, it’s no different from you or me walking down Albert St. and being offered Duracell batteries or Energiser batteries which we know were stolen from the warehouse from Brodies or one of these major places. I say that because I think that we are beating up on public officers as being corrupt when in fact we need to grapple or we need to come to terms with the fact that all of us are a part of a corrupt society.”