What’s Up at Vital Stats Unit? AG Explains
On Monday, the People’s United Party picketed the Vital Stats Office in downtown Belize City, criticizing the government department for the many hiccups and hurdles in accessing its services. The unit remains under heavy scrutiny particularly by the Opposition as supporters go through the re-registration process ahead of the April tenth referendum. In the wake of the protest, Attorney General Michael Peyrefitte whose office oversees that department is rejecting claims of corruption.
Michael Peyrefitte, Attorney General
“The problem is that there is no longer any corruption at Vital Stats. Previously, agents of the P.U.P. use to be all up in the office, in the vault holding books, going through books that they were not authorized to do. All of that has stopped. Listen to me, if you come to me and the system is when you apply to register a child, that information goes into about four or five different books and a computer system. If we don’t find you in one book, because indeed sometimes the pages are missing or the book is so old you don’t see it, it’s always in some other document. Wherever we find you in one of those books in the system, we will issue you your birth paper, but if you are nowhere to be found, several people come into that office to apply with an agent for a birth paper, they don’t speak English, they don’t speak Spanish. Really? You were born in Belize and you have no presence in any of the records anywhere in Vital Stats, you want the office to just issue a birth paper to that so that the public can make no comment about Vital Stats? I would prefer for it to come to a grinding halt than for us to issue a birth paper to a person who is not a real Belizean. That’s my position.”
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