Features — 22 July 2017 — by Neri O. Briceño
Your citizenship

The identity of an individual and their citizenship in a given nation are probably two of the most important identifying marks any person can have. Being able to identify one’s self is part of the hallmark of who we are. It gives you that status of being a human being; it gives gender and I am not talking about the alphabet soup mixture of gender identity being promoted by the LGBT community. I mean the mechanism to be able to vote, travel, pay taxes, receive benefits, the ability to work either for one’s self or another party. You carry your identify from cradle to grave and is probably the last thing that is used to register your passing and to record that indeed you once walked the face of the earth.

I always compare your personal identity as being a sibling in a family and your citizenship as being part of family. They both show who you are and where it is that you originate from. It is safe to say that without both of these, it is almost impossible to carve an existence, much less a living.

As the modern world progressed, man in his own wisdom saw it necessary to document the whereabouts and the movements of its citizens. The real reason why this was done is as complex as the reasons why man travels in the first place. Documentation of travel and identity has financial, social, cultural and legal reasons behind them, and all enable a sense of mutual stability between states. Simply put, it’s done to enable stability and order.

When illegal or illicit activities enter the realm of the documentation of one’s identity and/or their origin, it allows for disorder to prevail. States have become increasingly concerned about this breach because with the advent of modern transportation, it represents a global threat.

There is no escaping that there are hundreds, if not thousands, of Belizeans out there somewhere who are not Belizeans but have all the documentation to say they are. Most are illegitimate, but others are not, and the sad part is that not even the government can tell us how many they are and even less who they are. Over the years our patrimony has been seen as a cheap commodity that can be bartered, traded and sold like any other product on the market. There is only one entity that can be blamed for this, since they are the only ones who are legally authorized to give an individual this status and that is the Government of Belize. The Government of Belize is basically the people of Belize, but I mean it more in terms of the administration which managing the affairs of the nation.

The problems with the patrimony of Belizeans started with the advent of the Economic Citizenship Program. This was one of the worst ideas that any administration could have put in place because what it essentially did was to put a price on something that otherwise was priceless. Its motivation was purely financial and when the political directorate and their cronies saw the amount of money that could be made from it, not for the nation but for themselves, our fate was sealed. A good many of the same people who are adamantly condemning the current immigration scandal are one and the same who made millions upon millions of dollars as immigration agents, brokers and facilitators in what was in itself an evil scheme towards the people and nation of Belize. This enabled them to buy status, prestige and political power and connections, which they still enjoy to this day.

I will admit this, however, that the only difference between the program at that time and what is happening today is that then it was legal. Morally however, both situations then and now are equally repulsive and the motivation for both was and is still primarily financial. The facilitation of the sale or the illegal acquiring of Belizean nationality, identify or birthright is treasonous and there is no other way of putting that. Doing this is the equivalent of selling one’s people out. The problems associated with this are so humongous, especially from a national, regional and global threat standpoint, that it’s hard to understand why those in the Immigrations & Nationality Department and within the government could not understand the magnitude of what they were doing. What they have done is big, and the sad part is that the action does not end at the shores of the Caribbean, but rather has the capability to extend globally.

As Belizeans we have been betrayed by those people who were entrusted to preserve and protect what was our God-given right. That it started out with the legal implementation of the Economic Citizenship Program is no excuse. The lure of money cannot be so powerful that it allows us to sell our own selves.

There is no question that the Immigration & Nationality Department was corrupt to the core, not everyone working there, but there was enough corruption in place that the honest workers could not stop it. While some of the core of the corruption can be attributed to the old Nazi excuse, that “I was ordered to do,” most of the criminal activity was because of greed.

The fact that the political directorate were openly benefitting from this, and there is no denying that, is even more alarming. What has been uncovered is that so great is the need for power and money within the leadership of the nation, that leaders were willing to give this precious birthright to get votes and money.

But don’t get me wrong: those that became Belizean illegally are no less guilty. The Eastern European, Central American, Middle Eastern people, and especially the Asians, who saw an easy ticket either to enter the US, conceal their identity or run away from authorities under the guise of being Belizeans, are surely not Belizean like me, regardless of what piece of paper they have in their hands saying otherwise.

Shame on all the traitors that sold us out and thanks to the US for doing more to punish those who defile us than our own government is doing.

It’s all about the people!!!!

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