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Senator Lizarraga addresses the likelihood of there being criminal charges

Several persons, most of which include persons sitting in high positions in government offices, Ministers included, have been named as taking part in corrupt practices within the Immigration Department. These, as we learned today, range from taxi men selling ticket numbers at the department to selling Belizean passports and visas. But with all that has been divulged at the Senate hearings, will the information actually lead to an eventual arrest and criminal charge? Today’s Pro-tempt Chair, Senator Mark Lizarraga reviewed several recommendations with Immigration Director Diana Locke. The Media asked whether it was an attempt at ensuring some action is taken.

Mark Lizarraga – Senator

Well the Auditor General when she writes her report is very clear. She says, the Director of Immigration should and she recommends that the Director of Immigration does. So this is an opportunity for us to get on record, the testimony of the Director to see how she feels about the recommendations and what recommendations she intends to carry out. The Director was forthright today in saying in some instances, look this specific recommendation is above my pay grade. You need to ask the CEO or the Ministry or the Ministers or Cabinet. In several instances she said, I can’t handle that. That has to be handled at a different level so it’s good to hear that because at the end of the day we need to know who is going to be responsible for taking those recommendations and putting it into action. We need to see action with everybody. There’s a strong level of skepticism even in your comment that you made just now that people believe that nothing will happen. Well I think it’s important that the people of Belize understand where the responsibility lies for things to happen and I think that’s what we are trying to ascertain. I think the Director is on the ground, she’s learning the system. I think she has done a lot of improvements, I think we have heard where a lot has been done but I think there’s a lot more that still needs to be done and she has agreed and it is important for us to know what has been done and what needs to be done and by who.