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Dec 9, 2009

Rainforest Seafoods wants 15 year tax holiday in Belize

26068Over the weekend the vessels of a Jamaican fishing company came ashore in Punta Gorda. It bore the name PG Fishing Company Limited which was born out of an agreement with the Rio Grande Cooperative, a local fishermen cooperative. This irked the local fishing community and officially the word was that no license would be given to the company until consultations are held. But today News Five has learnt that there is another Jamaican company that wants to get in the fishing and aquaculture industry at a scale so massive it could unsettle the country’s entire fishing industry. A December second confidential Cabinet Memorandum submitted by the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries which was released to News Five reveals that the Jamaican group intends to build a facility that would be able to process up to two million pounds of seafood per annum. On the surface it sounds like a good deal. However, a 2006 study showed that total fish production by the five main cooperatives were estimated at one million two hundred thirty-nine thousand two hundred and thirty-one pounds. So how would the Jamaican company double production of the local cooperatives and do so without bringing fierce competition? The company in question is called Rainforest Seafoods Limited. Its current link to Belize is through a relationship with Aquamar Limited, a seafood export company that belongs to local businessman Mike Dunker. The Cabinet memorandum mentions that it will also have its own fishing boats, leaving speculation as to the manner in which it would fish in our waters. Rainforest Seafood says it will build a three million dollar state of the art processing plant on two acres of land close to the deep water port at Big Creek in Independence Village and it will hire forty locals. All it fishes and produces will be for the export market. But what does it want in return for the forty jobs it will bring to Stann Creek? According to the cabinet memo, Rainforest Seafoods is applying for four concessions for its operation. It wants two acres of land at Big Creek; Duty free access for all materials to construct and outfit the plant; and assistance with power supply to the site. But even if you were thinking the taxes on the operation might make it worth the stiff competition with the local cooperatives and the depletion of marine life, Rainforest does not want to pay any taxes. The company wants a tax holiday for fifteen years as an export incentive. Industry stakeholders have made noise to Belmopan and the proposal, it seems, might be temporarily on hold. We’ll have more on this developing story on tomorrow’s newscast.

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2 Responses for “Rainforest Seafoods wants 15 year tax holiday in Belize”

  1. Dana Bradley says:

    Read the Belize news but is not too sure if our country should allow any company to work in our country at duty free especially our marine products. they would rape our seabeds , and that would not be good for our country Belize. Thank you for reading my comments.

  2. Sasha says:

    Minister of Commerce/Tourism, if you sign this DEAL you must be taking more than crack. Noboby lets another investor into their country without paying the taxes due; morevoer they would be destroying the marine life for that amount of production. JUST SAY HELL NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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