Government has suspended the issuing of visas to Haitian national but many questions remain unanswered as a damning memo purportedly from the Labour Commissioner, Matthew LeBlanc, dated January 12, 2015 to Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit continues to receive much attention.
In that memo, which was obtained by DNO, LeBlanc stated that his many efforts at dealing with the matter of irregularities in the issuing of visas to Haitian nationals have been “vetoed.”
“As Labour Commissioner, I have become the victim of countless false accusations, libeling, assaults and threats, especially from persons who feel that I am hindering them from prospering in their business of making monies out of visas,” he said to the Prime Minister.
He made those comments after Prime Minister Skerrit along with two other government ministers visited his office on December 19, 2014 informing him that there was evidence which indicates that staff of the Division of Labour and Immigration was involved in what was described as “racketeering of visas/work permit”.
“You indicated that while you could investigate and have persons arrested, you are giving me the chance to investigate and fix it,” Leblanc wrote to the Prime Minister. “These revelations were shocking to me especially in the manner in which it was addressed to me. You no doubt appeared to have been very disturbed. I am of the understanding that you are expecting me to act immediately. I have been given directive by you to fix the referred alleged unethical behavior of some of my staff and their involvement with others in the processing of visas and work permits.”
He continued, “Sir, I am unaware of any current involvement of members of staff in the alleged racketeering of visas. However, as you may well recall, in my response to you, I indicated that I am aware that there are serious concerns about persons involved with visa applications and that I had information and intelligence also, most of which I have shared with the relevant other Government Agencies. I further indicated to you that no one has given me a listening on the matters that concerns me for many years as it relates to the processing of visas.”
According to the Labour Commissioner, his efforts to deal with the situation and some of the concerns raised by the Prime Minister have not been taken seriously by his supervisors and managers.
“You asked me to write to prove that I have been making efforts to deal with the situation hence my memorandum to you,” he said. “I have taken the opportunity to report on all areas of concerns to me as it relates the Division of Labour and Immigration and some of the services provided to the public. Sir, since 2008, I have raised numerous concerns at Heads of Division (management) meetings with Ministers for Immigration and Permanent Secretaries for Immigration. My countless efforts to have the Permanent Secretary organize a meeting with the Honourable Minister for Immigration to discuss my concerns were always turned down.”
He continued, “I was always given the assurance that my concerns are being addressed and that the authorities were aware of those concerns. It seems clear to me that these assurances were not genuine, since my experience in recent years have proven that I am still considered responsible for the numerous allegations leveled at the Division, especially regarding the processing and issuance of visas.”
He further stated that the mandate and directive given to him to “fix the racketeering” which involves staff of the Division of Labour and Immigration is a “very difficult one given the current circumstances.”
“My actions and decisions are continuously overturned, vetoed, reversed, overridden or revoked by my Ministers and Permanent Secretaries and numerous complaints made by me was never inquired into or investigated. This has undermined my confidence and that of my staff and has left the Division of Labour to be ridiculed, criticized, mocked and disregarded by members of the public,” LeBlanc stated.
All efforts at getting comments from the Minister of Justice and or the Prime Minister on the matter has proven futile.
See the full memo below.