BELIZE CITY, Mon. Aug. 1, 2016–Belize has been going through international embarrassment due to the hustling that was taking place at the Immigration Department, which became etched in the national consciousness when the Elvin Penner passport scandal broke in September 2013.
Today at Prime Minister Dean Barrow’s press conference, the media asked him about another kind of embarrassment to Belize that occurred over the weekend, when the former Director of Immigration, Ruth Meighan, landed back in Belize on Saturday after she was denied entry into the United States and her personal as well as her official visa were reportedly cancelled.
Prime Minister Barrow, in answer to the question put by the media, said that he had heard about the visa cancellation, but did not know why Meighan’s was turned back.
Since the story broke, Amandala has attempted to get comments from several persons in authority.
We spoke by phone to Minister of State for Transport and NEMO, Edmund “Clear the Land” Castro, who told us that Meighan, who was his Chief Executive Officer, “is a big woman and can speak for herself …”
“Let her tell you. I don’t want to speak for my CEO,” Castro remarked.
Information in the media was that Foreign Minister Wilfred “Sedi” Elrington was going to have an audience with the United States Ambassador about the matter.
When Amandala tried to speak to Minister Elrington at his home this evening, however, he sent a message saying that he was “indisposed” and we “should check back tomorrow morning around 7.”
A call to Meighan’s cellphone was answered by her husband around 8:30 p.m., and he told us that his wife “was asleep … and I will not wake her.”
Ruth Meighan now joins her former Minister of State for Immigration, Elvin Penner, whose US visa has allegedly been cancelled.
During the Elvin Penner passport scandal, the administration of Prime Minister Barrow did nothing to hold Penner legally accountable and everything was done to avoid prosecuting him.
Amandala could not find out whether Meighan was travelling in a private or an official capacity.