The Immigration hearings that ended in December of 2018 have Belizeans still waiting in January 2020 for a report that has not left the sanctuary of the Chair of the Committee, Aldo Salazar’s desk. He tried to spill tears as he claimed to be incompetent at completing the report since he had better things to do than do the people’s work.
Early in 2020, our party leader was asked to share his thoughts on this: “It is two years now that we are waiting on Senator Aldo Salazar to come up with that report. He even had an assistant, I think it was attorney McSweeney that was helping him to put this thing together but they have no interest. I expect a sanitized version before the elections…”
The National Trade Union Congress of Belize (NTUCB)—the umbrella organization of ALL UNIONS in BELIZE—had formally written the Government of Belize to express disappointment that the 1st draft of the Senate Special Select Committee report on the Immigration scandal has still not been released. The Special committee was put together in September of 2016 with the hearing commencing the following December. That October the BNTU lead a historic 11-day strike to ensure that the hearing does occur along with a laundry list of governance issues the UDP government was forced to deal with.
The long-drawn out Senate hearing that had the UDP on their collective toes was done to investigate the findings of Auditor General Dorothy Bradley’s Special Audit into the Passport, Visa and Nationality Department for 2011-2013. Without a doubt, TWO damning revelations were these:
- A list of minister recommendations from United Democratic Party (UDP) officials, including Minister Elvin Penner, Minister Manuel Heredia Jr., Minister Edmond Castro, Minister John Saldivar, Minister Erwin Contreras, were brought up in the Senate hearing.
- Another stinging allegation points to a government elected fraudulently at the 2012 Double Elections. At the root of this was the super expedited nationalization of persons who were then shovelled into the voters list. Viola! UDP squeaked an electoral win.
In October 2016, the BNTU were out to get their pound of flesh. They demanded Hulse’s head, that Saldivar be investigate by international investigators, UNCAC signing, salary adjustments, and that the Senate does carry out the Immigration hearings among other national concerns. The UDP seemed to flinch and a timeline was agreed upon for the demands to be met. If we fast forward to today on these concerns, it is easy to say that the UDP was dishonest at the bargaining table. They signed to get the unions off their back but have not shown indications that they meant to follow through. Today, John Saldivar have been returned as Minister of National Security and has reigned over a period of the worst of criminal activity going unpunished. UNCAC is still an unknown acronym to the Belizean people. And, there is still no sign of any immigration report documenting the hearings.
The Senate Special Select Committee was formed under much duress as the UDP didn’t want anything to do with an impartial committee. They circumvented anything to make sure that Aldo Salazar was chair for the sake of being UDP and not for impartiality. For 12 months the hearings went on and the Belizean public was privy to the arrogance of the United Democratic Party ministers and ex-ministers who refused to give the hearings any urgency nor respect. Under oath meant very little. Castro, Heredia et al scoffed at the questions. How dare the Special Select Committee question them?
But Also Salazar, the chair of the committee, was compromised. How? Unbeknownst to Belizean public was that Belize was the sanctuary for the LARGEST INTERNATIONAL REAL ESTATE SCAM in UNITED STATES history.
During the time of the Senate Select Hearings in question, Aldo Salazar was full of “exigencies” that most likely dealt with Sanctuary Bay Enterprises as he had to be shuffling and dealing out property foreclosures. His personal and business affairs have been touted by him as the main reason the Immigration report has not been submitted.
This one is easy. If his personal and other business affairs are in conflict with the time he ought to provide to Senate duties then he should resign. Give it up to somebody who has the people at heart. The UDP has no time for Belize; they have countless more important exigencies.
The PUP will complete the Immigration scandal report. Its importance is such that the precedent must be set just like with the illegal spending of money not yet appropriated by the National Assembly. Today, January 9, Finnegan, of Lake Independence dreams, is attempting to railroad Nationalities in an attempt to have a 2012 Déjà vu all over again. This time NO is the answer. Even if this is done to the chagrin of law abiding citizens, the new Belizeans will take their nationality and vote them out. UDP is shameless and Belize cannot tolerate them anymore.