Friday, January 20, 2012



Chief of Immigration in Belize, says there is a backlog of naturalization applicants to be dealt with. The backlog of unprocessed files for NATURALIZATION as citizens, is 2.5 years long. A very long time indeed. Blamed mostly, is lack of the size of the Immigration Department and the vetting slow procedures. What is happening right now in Belize is a cyclical situation, whereas backlogged people with papers that have not been processed for NATURALIZATION, lost files, personal documents, etc., has put many would be long term residents in Belize, that have immigrated here, on a HOLDING PATTERN. Some have been holding over 20 years. When we talk about a messed up political system and bureaucratic administrative system, the only government department that equals the IMMIGRATION DEPARTMENT, is the LANDS DEPARTMENT for an untidy mess.
The 5 year cyclical nature of national elections, sets deadlines for voting registration for new immigrants, so EVERY ELECTION CYCLE, whoever the party in power is, the ELECTED REPRESENTATIVES OF THAT PARTY, start working with their non-voting constitutents, trying to facilitate their getting their paper work in order for NATURALIZATION. Many immigrants have neither the language skills in English and many do not understand the long and tedious processing requirements. For many, raising kids that were born in Belize, it takes all their money to live, as they are on the lower end of the totem pole in the economy as to salaries and cash flows. So, the rising steep fees for various things in qualifying with paper work, like police records, doctor medical tests and so forth takes a back burner. Children of residents of Belize who immigrated here are sometimes in High School, or even College after being born here, but their parents have not been able to complete the IMMIGRATION validation process bureaucratic red tape, to become legal voting citizens. They want to, circumstances and the fees and the red tape frustrate them.
Hence as a NATIONAL ELECTION is coming up shortly this year, the ELECTED REPRESENTATIVES have opened their constituency offices and hired people on their own, to help long term qualified residents process their paper work, so it is acceptable to the IMMIGRATION DEPARTMENT, for swearing in. The reason is because such a qualified immigrant will usually VOTE for the person who helped them break the bottleneck at Immigration Department.
On the same tone, it at this time prior to the General Election that the ELECTED REPRESENTATIVES insist the CABINET of their party, put the IMMIGRATION DEPARTMENT ON OVERTIME PAY, to start vetting and processing the 2.5 YEAR BACKLOG of uncompleted work that has piled up. So each election time seems to be the time, to clear the red tape obstacles and get the IMMIGRATION DEPARTMENT BACKLOG completed. It is in self interest of the ELECTED REPRESENTATIVE of a constituency, to see his long term qualified residents become VOTERS on his watch, BEFORE the election. As once NATURALIZED, THE PERSON CAN REGISTER TO VOTE FOR HIM OR HER.
Their are many misunderstandings on local tv talk shows about the pile up of overtime work being done by IMMIGRATION OFFICIALS before an election. Also the side issue, of Elected Representatives hiring their own people to work with residents of their constituency, trying to process and get people with red tape paper work problems in order to expedite the NATURALIZATION PROCESS. It makes a lot of ignorant people angry and wild allegations are in the media at this time, alleging skulduggery. It is a NORMAL CYCLE of work being done, to get people registered to vote and they cannot vote if they are not NATURALIZED.
That said; the TV TALK SHOW WUB, run by hosts Sharon and Moses came up with a good suggestion, that our political apparatus and CABINET, PASS A LAW that would have a ONE YEAR holding period AFTER NATURALIZATION, before being able to register to vote. This would break the cycle of BACKLOG and OVERTIME during an ELECTION YEAR that is seen every ELECTION cycle. I agree with that in principal, but our government CABINET are not too work conscious and procrastination is the name of the game in looking after the day to day running problems of our small country. No bureaucrat on his or her own decision can make the government system work. The BLOCKAGE IS POLITICAL. We just have a lazy bunch, more concerned about making money in CABINET, rather than dealing with the day to day problems of running our government. It is not only the IMMIGRATION DEPARTMENT in trouble. It is the LANDS DEPARTMENT and also LOCAL GOVERNMENT. Placentia Town Council have been waiting 8 years to get their by-laws read by the CABINET, ( both parties ) in the PARLIAMENT, which is a requirement of CONSTITUTIONAL LAW, to make them legal. NOBODY in any party in office have yet seen fit to do this small job either.
OBVIOUSLY, IMMIGRATION WILL HAVE TO BE ENLARGED, if they are too keep up with a 2.5 year BACKLOG of unprocessed applications for naturalization and citizenship, in a more orderly and timely manner. The CABINET on the other hand, have a problem finding budget money for this, as the government has negative cash flow and the government is heavily in DEBT. It is only at ELECTION TIME, that the clamor from ELECTED REPRESENTATIVES in the party controlling the CABINET, that money is squeezed from scarce priorities and resources, to put the IMMIGRATION DEPARTMENT on OVERTIME PAY. Usually a period of a month or so.

No comments: