Belmopan City, Wednesday February 7, 2017
Candelaria Saldivar-Morter, sister of Minister John Saldivar, was possibly the first public officer in charge of the Immigration and Nationality Department to be completely candid and straight to the point with the Senate Select Committee. In her hours-long testimony on Wednesday, February 8, 2017 she threw Godwin Hulse under the proverbial bus, stating “For me, what the Auditor General put out, myself and Minister Hulse knew.” Saldivar-Morter continued to say that, “...We need a complete reform and structuring. Otherwise, 10 years from now, we'll be having another Senate Hearing."
There is a lot from her testimony in which the Senators looking into the Auditor General’s reports asked her to explain as a Former CEO In charge of the Immigration and Nationality Department. The hearing finished very close to press time, and so the Belize Times will examine it in greater detail in our next week’s issue, but Saldivar, made this point very strenuously.
She said, “For me, yes, you're saying 'oh, there are these issues that the Auditor General reports’, but nothing in these Auditor-General's reports was a surprise to us, and that is the reason why we went into the whole session, and we put so much emphasis, especially myself, in terms of getting the working group to push to come up with a recommendation because we realized that if we stay and sit back and try to fix all the little things within, we will still have the problems at the end of the day….and I think the public knew. What we need is a fix, and until we look at that fix, we could always point fingers, and we could always say. But we need to do that…”
Though none of the UDP’s are willing to acknowledge the corruption that permeated the department during this time, Saldivar asserted to the Senate that the Immigration Ministry tried and failed to keep that department honest, and that they were heaving from one scandal to the next.
Saldivar explained, "We tried - the Ministry tried, like I said, worked hand in hand with the Director of Immigration. But I don't know if during the period, 2012 to when I left, 2015, we had so many issues that side-lined whatever kinds of work that we wanted to do that we had to deal with, like emergency issues. We had the issue with Dyck, Wilhem Dyck, and then after that, we had the issue with Won Hong Kim, and then, and so, each time you tried to put things in place, you're side-lined by some scandal which takes you away from trying to put in place some of the things…there was no bandaid fix for what was wrong at the Immigration and Nationality Services Department.”
In our next issue, we’ll show you how she herself had to explain why she was lumped in as one of those UDP officials who intervened at the Immigration Department.