Features — 04 February 2017 — by Micah Goodin
PUP leader John Briceño on skullduggery in the Immigration Department

BELIZE CITY, Wed. Feb. 1, 2017–Leader of the Opposition People’s United Party (PUP), John Briceño, is calling for a criminal investigation into what he considers voter fraud.

At the end of last year, Briceño had received leaked documents revealing that over 2,000 immigrants had received their Belizean nationality in an expedited fashion within two months prior to the 2012 General and Municipal Elections.

The nationalization of those persons, according to Briceño, was facilitated so that they could vote in an election in which the PUP lost by a total of 812 votes.

During last week’s Senate hearing, former Immigration Director, Ruth Meighan confirmed that a large number of immigrants had received their Belizean papers right before the election.
However, she revealed that in many cases they did not meet legal requirements for those Immigration documents issued to them.

At the PUP’s National Party Council meeting held on Saturday in Orange Walk Town, CTV-3 News asked Briceño to weigh in on Meighan’s comments.

“Here we are with the former Director of Immigration, who was the Director at that time, who basically admits that there has been some sort of electoral fraud,” said Briceño.

According to Briceño, Prime Minister Dean Barrow must put an end to electoral fraud and seek the advice of the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions to investigate and lay charges where possible.

“We are going to hold the government accountable; the Prime Minister needs to do the right thing, and he needs to look at his legacy. Is he going to allow for this to continue and to perpetuate this kind of electoral fraud? We are saying that we need to hold the people accountable, the people that have orchestrated this plan, so we are saying that the Prime Minister needs to call in the DPP to do a thorough investigation,” Briceño stated.

He continued, “We have to hold the government accountable, we have to let them understand that the law was broken and if the law is broken, then we need to hold the people accountable. There must be a full and thorough investigation, and let the chips fall where they may. If people are found guilty, if ministers are found guilty, they need to answer.”

A reporter at CTV 3 News mentioned to Briceño, “The media approached the PM and asked him about the matter; he was tight-lipped about it and didn’t want to comment, saying that he would prefer to wait until the investigation is concluded. He did say, though, that from what he has seen and from what he has heard, he doesn’t see any wrongdoings from any of his ministers.”

Briceño responded, “I’m not in the least shocked that the Prime Minister is going to try to spin his way out of this; he was the one that talked about Ali Baba and the forty thieves. Obviously, something is wrong, and we’re going to be relentless, and we are going to hold them accountable for the wrongdoing and criminal activities that took place in the Immigration Department during that time.”

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