The Prime Minister also commented about news of an Immigration Amnesty. That news broke in late October when a Cabinet paper that detailed the programme was leaked. The paper disclosed that the programme would start early in 2011 and would grant permanent resident status to 20 thousand illegal immigrants who are living in Belize.
Well it is now early 2011 - so when will the programme start? No time soon, according to the Prime Minister:…
"Will government give 20,000 immigrants nationality?"
Hon. Dean Barrow, Prime Minister of Belize
"No, there was never any program contemplated that would have given anybody nationality. What was contemplated was a program to give permanent residence to some people who are here admittedly illegally. Similar to what Jorge Espat did in the last PUP administration so you were never talking about creating voters, they would have to get their permanent residence and they would have to wait 5 years to become nationals. there has been this great human cry about this, I am here to tell you today that while we still believe that that ultimately has to be done - is a practical thing to do, it's all a matter of timing, we have not had the money to do it here before because it will require additional staff, it will require a fair amount of additional expenditure. In terms of this 2011 agenda which is serious concentrating on spending on infrastructure and pro=poor programs we will not have the money so that is officially shelved."
Later on we'll have more from the prime minister as he discusses high gas prices and comments on those ads about his so-called Royal Family.