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May 2, 2017

Free Zone Board Acts as C.E.O. is Suspended

There is lingering disquiet at the Corozal Commercial Free Zone where meetings were held today to quell concerns of the business community. We have been reporting since last week of sick-outs by staff members who want the new C.E.O. Valentino Blanco removed because of allegations of nepotism and inefficiency. Blanco was installed at the Free Zone to replace Raul Rosado; he is related to Doctor Angel Campos, the area representative for Corozal Southwest and Minister of State for Health.  Campos, himself, has been spending time at the Free Zone since last week. On Friday, after days of rumbling, the Directors of the Corozal Board met to “discuss and investigate the matter of industrial action undertaken by the administrative staff.” At the end of the meeting, the Board decided to suspend Blanco for a period of thirty-days with immediate effect and so informed on Saturday by CFZ Chairman Gregory Gibson. But Blanco went to work today, which caused a commotion until he left around midday. The reasons for his suspension are outlined in the letter to him: breach of confidentiality, breach to the terms and conditions of employment, loss of confidence from staff and CFZ private sector and failure to execute duties in a fair and impartial manner. Today, Board Director Kishure Makhijani told News Five that there is too much political interference at the free zone.

 

Kishure Makhijani

Kishure Makhijani, President, Chamber of Commerce Corozal

“The right flow would have been they complain to the chairman and then they come to us if the chairman was not doing anything. According to them, they had complained to the chairman repeatedly, but you got to realize guys there is too much political interference in the zone, which is why at times the CFZ administration feels impotent – they always feel that because of the political interference.”

 

Reporter

“Why is there political interference?”

 

Kishure Makhijani

“I don’t know. This has been the trend since so many years. I have been on the board more than six years; there is a lot of political interference. Let me tell you all one thing. The administration hired a C.E.O.; we got two for the price of one, believe me. We got Minister Campos, who is running things here, who is instructing the security what to do.  I don’t know…if he is the Minister of Health, I don’t know who gave him the authority to come to the free zone. Basically, Mister Valentino Blanco he’s been acting upon the instructions of the C.E.O.  All this came to the notice of the Chamber and we conducted a board last week Friday. And basically the meeting was kind of a different one because it was like a cross-examination thing. So we presented all the facts to the board and the public sector directors told us to let the C.E.O. come. And I headed the question and answer session with the C.E.O. Asked him a couple of questions; he just diverted all those questions. I don’t want to go into details otherwise this interview is going to take hours. But the bottom line, the final decision, was made that he should be suspended immediately pending investigations.”

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