BELMOPAN, Cayo District, Wed. Jan. 25, 2017–Since the Opposition People’s United Party (PUP) lost the 2012 General Election by 812 votes, it has long accused the ruling United Democratic Party (UDP) of voter fraud, caused by major malpractices at the Immigration Department.
At the House of Representatives meeting held in December 2016, current PUP leader, John Briceño, accused the ruling UDP government of that fraud and even claimed that the PUP would have been in government from 2012 if it was not for irregular practices in the Immigration Department.
Did UDP use Immigration Department to hijack 2012 general elections?
“I was given 64 pages of, names of people who got their nationality, between October 2011 and February 2012. Over 2,000 nationalities were issued just before the election. Here we have the names, Mr. Speaker, and I can give you a copy so you all can see. Over 2,000 just before the election,” he had revealed.
Today at the Senate hearing into the findings of the Auditor General’s Special Audit report, former Director of Immigration, Ruth Meighan, conceded that many illegal immigrants voted in the 2012 General Election.
The PUP’s Senator Eamon Courtney asked, “You were Director in 2012?”
Ruth Meighan responded, “Yes.”
Courtenay continued, “You were aware that there was an election in 2012.”
Meighan again responded, “Yes.”
Courtenay added, “General Election.”
“Yes,” said Ruth Meighan again.
Courtenay asked, “Are you aware that there was an unusual amount of persons who got nationality shortly before that general election?”
Meighan again responded, “Yes.”
Courtenay probed, “Are you aware that Ministers were heavily involved in speeding up the processing of nationality for many individuals in the run-up to that election?”
Meighan replied, “I am aware that the Ministers were trying to get people processed for nationality during that period.”
Courtenay emphasized, “On an expedited basis.”
Meighan explained, “Well, the Department did process a lot of applications that would have maybe taken a little bit longer, during that period.”
Courtenay asked, “So, the answer is yes, on an expedited basis.”
“Yes,” confirmed Meighan.
Courtenay asserted, “And you’re aware that the purpose for that was in order for these people to be registered to vote.”
Meighan conceded, “I believe that was the reason why.”
Courtenay added, “Are you aware that quite a number of those persons who got nationality, their files were incomplete?”
“That’s what I noted from the report, yes,” said Meighan.
Eamon Courtenay asserted, “Those persons, whose files were not complete, did not qualify at that time to get Belizean nationality.”
In one of the most shocking confessions made today, Meighan responded, “Those persons did not qualify, but the files were presented, and I could clearly remember my Minister coming back and telling me… because we were concerned about the process of the files, they were requesting a lot of files, and we said that we have to ensure that all the applicants meet the requirement for nationality, and that was clearly stated throughout the department, and so, any files that came to us for approval, they were presented as qualified applicants.”
Courtenay pressured, “You now know, Miss Meighan, that many of them were fraudulently prepared.”
Meighan submitted, “Yes.”
Courtenay again asserted, “They did not qualify for nationality.”
Meighan interjected, “Yes, according to the…
But Courtenay continued, “And obviously did not qualify to be registered to vote.”
Meighan replied, “Yes.”
After Meighan made those shocking revelations, Courtenay simply closed: “No further questions, thank you.”
While Meighan served as the Director of the Immigration Department, the current Commissioner of Police, Allen Whylie, Col. George Lovell and retired public officer Candelaria Saldivar all at one point served as her CEO.
Currently, Meighan serves as the CEO in the Ministry of Transport and NEMO.