BELIZE CITY, Fri. Sept. 28, 2012
Earlier this week, Amandala viewed an online story by the Guatemalan newspaper Prensa Libre detailing the alleged signing of an agreement between the Chamber of Commerce of Izabal Province and the Belize Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI) that will allow imports of sand, gravel, sausages, meat, fruit and vegetables.
The signing apparently took place in Punta Gorda Town and reportedly was witnessed by Minister of Foreign Affairs Wilfred Elrington, who allegedly told the Guatemalan newspaper that “We must make alliance with our neighbors who have the capacity to sell us products at lower prices than those negotiated with Holland.”
The newspaper article also quotes one Marvis Avila, “representing the Belize Chamber of Commerce,” as saying that “the objective of the agreement is to establish trade links, as from July this year they perceived a common beneficial link.”
President of the Izabal Chamber Jaquelin Quinto says that the trading will take place between Puerto Barrios and Punta Gorda, which are about an hour apart by boat.
However, a check with the Chamber in Belize today revealed that none of their members or executives traveled with the Minister to Punta Gorda to sign any such agreement, much less that they were aware of such an agreement, and that they have no Marvis Avila working for them.
The photo accompanying the story, reproduced above, shows the group standing in front of a banner marked “Toledo Association of Business.” The Chamber says it knows of no such organization and if that organization exists, it said, it is not affiliated with the Chamber.
The BCCI says it was informed by a contact at Belize’s embassy in Guatemala earlier this week of the report and is now conducting its own investigation.
Neither Minister Elrington nor CEO in the Ministry Alexis Rosado is in country until next week, and no senior officials were available in Belmopan to answer our queries when we called this afternoon.