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Jul 5, 2021

Cemento Progreso Launches New Factory in Belize

For years, Cemento Progreso has been imported into Belize from neighboring Guatemala.  The powder for concrete has been used extensively in the infrastructure development and housing construction of the country.  Following a visit to Belize, on the heels of the opening of Santander Sugar in Cayo District, however, the Chief Executive Officer of the company decided to expand its operations by building a factory in Belize.  That vision has become a reality and earlier today a host of government officials converged on the new facility for its grand opening.  News Five’s Isani Cayetano reports.


Isani Cayetano, Reporting

A new manufacturing plant was inaugurated this morning, where government officials, including Prime Minister John Briceño, were on hand for the cutting of the ribbon.  Cemento Progreso formally introduced its processing facility for the production of powder cement on the local and export markets.  Speaking on behalf of the Guatemalan company, which has been in existence for over a hundred and twenty-one years, is Chief Executive Officer Jose Raul Gonzalez Merlo.


Jose Raul Gonzalez Merlo

Jose Raul Gonzalez Merlo, C.E.O., Progreso

“This has been a dream, as we were discussing before, that took a few years to consolidate, but we are proudly now producing made in Belize by Belizean hands.  For us, it was very important to consolidate the presence of Progreso in Guatemala and for Belize to have a strategic source of a product that means development, that means progress and that is very important for the infrastructure of this country.  It‘s been a little more than eight million dollars in investment in European technology that you will see which means all the environmental and quality standards that this country deserves.  It was a few years ago when Mario, Fernando and I visited and even the ministers at that time and we were very pleased by the welcoming of the authorities and the support that we received from them even during the pandemic.”


The addition of this factory is not only much needed foreign direct investment for the country, but it also creates jobs for Belizeans.


John Briceño

Prime Minister John Briceño

“As I mentioned earlier, there’s a lot of opportunities in Belize.  The problem is that many people don‘t know about the opportunities and so we have to ensure that, and use this investment as an example so that other people from the rest of Central America can also come in and invest in Belize because by investing in Belize we create opportunities, we collect taxes, we create jobs for people and using Belize as a springboard to market, for instance, like in CARICOM and other areas.  So we‘re quite excited about this investment and we are quite hopeful that it is something that will create opportunities for Belize, help with our balance of payments, we have a huge imbalance and so we have to find any which way to be able to attract more investments in Belize to make things better for Belize.  I mean, it goes in line with what we have been saying with Plan Belize. We’re hoping that the cement is going to be cheaper and more easily available.”


Reporting for News Five, I am Isani Cayetano.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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