Discussions continue into the opening of the Corozal Free Zone. The hope was to have a decision finalized before Christmas. According to Minister Jose Abelardo Mai the decision is being held up by the Chamber of Commerce within the free zone.
Jose Abelardo Mai, Minister of Agriculture: “There was a plan that was developed. The plan included immigration, it included border management, it included customs, it included the Freezone administration office and of course input from the business community. The plan was developed and it was presented to the chamber. Chamber listens, they ask questions, they had concerns and then they would have taken the plan back to their membership. They have met I understand one time they were to meet again to discuss the issue. The issue I hear at hand is the cost, there’s a cost for reopening the Freezone, there’s a cost to implement the measures for the people to be safe and I think that is where the challenge is meeting the cost and who should meet the cost and how much. Although there’s a formula, a very good formula developed but that is where I think we are right now we are waiting on the chamber for them to come and say “Yes this is what we want to do, we’re ready for it and let’s move on.”
Reporter: Is the Chamber of the Freezone different from the Chamber here or is it one and the same ?
Jose Abelardo Mai, Minister of Agriculture: “No it’s different. The Chamber of the Freezone is the businesses within the Freezone, they’re represented by a board. They have their board of directors so to speak and then they meet and they decide how they want to move.”
Reporter: So they’re the ones who you’re talking about when you say the Chamber.
Jose Abelardo Mai, Minister of Agriculture: “Yes, the Chamber. They got back to their membership and they were supposed to get back to us and say yes we’re ready to role and as soon as they’re ready to roll we’re ready to roll. We have excellent measures in place I feel if we implement the measures you are safer in the Freezone than walking in Orange Walk Town believe me.”
Reporter: Is there a timeline or that would be hard to say at this point ?
Jose Abelardo Mai, Minister of Agriculture: “Well we were hoping that it could be done by this week but again the Chamber decides and we can’t push anything on them it is they who have to be willing to say yes we’re ready to move.”
Love News understands that hundreds of residents in the north are looking forward to the zone’s reopening as the closure had cost them their income.