by Kristen Ku
COROZAL, Mon. Mar. 27, 2023
On Friday of last week, 22 Brazilians were discovered and detained by police officers at Mirador Hotel in Corozal Town.
Reports surfaced late Friday evening that these immigrants, which included one minor, had allegedly entered the country illegally as they were unable to provide a visitor’s permit to officials upon request. As a result, they were all detained by police, and have been split up and processed in two groups.
The first group of 11 was taken to court, where 8 pleaded guilty and the remaining 3 pleaded not guilty. Unfortunately, they were all still remanded to prison, despite their language barrier, for which immigration authorities are currently seeking a translator. Meanwhile, the Human Services Department has stepped forward to mediate the situation since a minor is involved.
The second group of 10, however, is being held in the custody of Corozal police where they are awaiting their trial date.
In the meantime, the government is reportedly in contact with the Brazilian Embassy in hopes to confirm the group’s nationality before proceeding with their trial, as they could be facing charges for failure to provide a visitor’s permit.
Amandala also reached out to the CEO of Immigration, Gilroy Middleton, for comment and he exclusively told us, “The Ministry is addressing the situation via the Laws of Belize. Once the situation has been ventilated the Ministry will issue a formal statement,” stated Middleton.