It gives me great sadness to read in the news that a Mexican national has been sentenced to 10 months in prison for not being able to pay a $1,000.00 fine for entering the country from Botes, Mexico to Santa Cruz, Belize, illegally.
Belize and Mexico have a brotherly relationship, and freedom of movement should be one of our main attractions. All of the trade movement goes towards Mexico, so when a few Mexicans wish to come to visit Belize, we should welcome them, not incarcerate them. If this person had criminal intentions when coming to our country, then we should punish him. We do not like when our people are locked up abroad for innocent reasons, especially if we are just offending immigration laws.
Was that person coming to work here and take away jobs from our nationals? I do not think so. Everyday hundreds of our people cross the border into Mexico at Botes, and we do not see the Mexicans arresting us for that. If we break their laws, then they will arrest us. And even if they detain us they do not hurriedly throw us into prison. They would prefer to put us back in our country where we belong.
How much will it cost taxpayers to house this person for 10 months? I bet more than a thousand Belize dollars. We are shooting ourselves in the foot with these actions.
If we were to send back all those people who are at Hattieville Ramada just for immigration offences and no other reason, we would save our country and taxpayers lots of money.
Somebody who is in the know about these figures, please enlighten GOB and show them how much we would save.