IMMIGRATION AND BTB AT ODDS
If you are on the QRP (Qualified Retired Persons) Program you already know this.
I joined QRP in September 2003 and waited and waited for my member card. I was told that about that time someone had stolen several hundred cards and BTB (Belize Tourism Board) would not be issuing any for sometime. Sometime was several years and when the cards were delivered it was a surprise to see that they were for “temporary residency” and would expire at the end of each year. THAT IS NOT WHAT I SIGNED UP FOR.
It was necessary to be 45 years old, or older, and have a guaranteed income of $2,000.00 US per month. When I did file for a renewal I was told I had to PROVE that I SPENT $2,000.00 US per month. THAT IS NOT WHAT I SIGNED UP FOR.
I have dutifully renewed each year and every year waiting period for my residency card has been longer and longer. In May 2017 I could have had emergency surgery at Karl Heiser Hospital in Belize City but choose to fly to California where I have complete medical coverage and know the doctors.
But BTB did not have the 2017 cards. I came back and had to leave again in September and still no cards. I left the 3rd time November 7th and each of the 3 times I traveled with just a receipt from BTB.
On this last trip a very large dark skinned, loud immigration officer challenged me and when I said I was waiting for BTB to print my card he became very vexed and informed me that BTB DOES NOT PRINT THE CARDS – IMMIGRATION DOES. This discussion went on for some time and finally I convinced him to call the San Pedro BTB office and verify my enrollment. He did and reluctantly passed me through.
Now I have been here for almost 6 months trying to recover and asked my caretaker to go to the office and try to get my card. He did and reported that none of them had yet been printed.
I love living on Ambergris Caye and for the most part like the culture – the people. But something seems to happen once anyone gets a government job. As my mom would have
said “They get to big for their britches.”
I know this sad little story is just a drop in the bucket of – shall we say – callous disregard for the people they are supposed to serve. There is no accountability for most of the government agencies and the families who use their positions for their own gain.
WHAT CAN BE DONE?