The silly season of politics is getting ready to begin as this is an election year and year of changes within the United Democratic Party. As is the norm, the political parties are even more alert of the strategies of their opposition and will not hesitate to publicize. This morning just after ten o’clock, the media saw one instance played out in Belize City. Reporter Naim Borges has the story.
This morning a crowd of non Belizean in queue on Partridge Street Belize City in front of the office of UDP Standard Bearer For the Lake Independence Division Diane Finnegan. When we arrived we noticed people coming out of the photo shop with their documents in hand and then heading to form a line to Finnegan’s office. We spoke to some of the locals there who told us why exactly they were out there.
Man in Line: ” I come here like eight o’clock because I mi deh pan my work site but I hear the people wanted to help my gyal, people weh no have papers and my gyal she done already applied for residence and I think she done got everything already but only for one letter that is why I bring my gyal for maybe the people could help me. I am from Orange Walk.
Naim Borges, Love FM News: How long have you been living in Belize?
Man in Line: ” Right now when I left Orange Walk because I am cutting cane and so, but I came to work construction work but I been working like fifteen years right now working in Belize City.”
While it is no secret that some area representatives and standard bearers assist potential voters with this process over the years the act has become even more blatant. In this particular case eyebrows were raised since election time is near. UDP Standard Bearer Diane Finnegan was at the site this morning. According to her she is trying to facilitate a meeting between the Minister of Immigration Beverly Williams and the applicants.
Dianne Finnegan, Standard Bearer, United Democratic Party Lake I: “Over the weekend I was in the Holy Emanuel area and some of the residents approached me about the length of time that it has been going on for them to get their papers, some of them have been living in Belize for many many years but I guess when they go to the offices it’s so challenging for them because they speak only Spanish and nobody is giving them the necessary information on what direction they need to take in order to get their papers processed. I have no knowledge of how that is done but I invited them to the office to inform them that on Monday at the Swift Hall the Minister of Immigration is going to be there to speak to them about what is necessary for them to do in order to get their paperwork going. That’s the bottom line of what is happening here.”
While conducting the interview however things got heated between Finnegan and the PUP’s Vaughn Gill. Here are some of the concerns that were brought up.
Vaughn Gill, People’s United Party Supporter: “You have people from all constituencies here who are bringing their papers fro you to process.”
Dianne Finnegan, Standard Bearer, United Democratic Party Lake I: “No I can’t process nobody’s papers.”
Vaughn Gill, People’s United Party Supporter: So you’re setting up people then ?
Dianne Finnegan, Standard Bearer, United Democratic Party Lake I: “No. I have not mentioned to anybody that I am processing their papers. They are here to get information to meet with the Minister on Monday, she is the only person who can tell them how to go about getting their papers. Please don’t turn this into a political thing because it has nothing- I am running in Lake I- Vaughn you are a smart young man I’ve known you for many many years and if nobody knows you you know me. You are interpreting what you see. You are interpreting what you see.”
Vaughn Gill, People’s United Party Supporter: “This is a repeat of the nationality issue in 2012. You think the Belizean people stupid? We’ve seen this before.”
Dianne Finnegan, Standard Bearer, United Democratic Party Lake I: “Well listen to me, let’s not call the Belizean people stupid because at the end of the day – at the end of the day. Listen to me at the end of the day if you all cared you all would have addressed the issue a long time.”
Finnegan responded by stating that she is assisting everyone in the country who was there with their nationality papers. She went on to say that it is not only targeted to the Hispanic community but of all ethnic groups who need help.
Love News understands that the Minister of Immigration, Beverly Williams is slated to meet with the applicants on Monday. We will keep following this story.