BELIZE CITY, Thurs. July 19, 2018– On March 5, 2018, Minister of State for the Ministry of Economic Development, Petroleum, Investment, Trade and Commerce, Hon. Tracy Taegar-Panton, signed Statutory Instrument No. 14 of 2018, cited as “Approved Enterprise (Belize Estate Company Limited) Amendment order, 2018.”
The new statutory instrument is an amendment to SI 37 of 2014, which allows the company, BEC Limited, to substitute its list of items with the following items: transport vehicles — 20 pickups, 48 SUVs, 7 passenger vans and office furniture, the amount and kind of which are unknown at this time. The one page SI went on to say: “This order shall come into force on signature.”
BEC Ltd. is the agent for Ford and Kia vehicles, and it is not known why the business would get a concession from Government. It is unlikely that the government would be purchasing these 75 vehicles and the office furniture, and if they did, why would they have to make an S.I. for that?
In any case, in view of the lack of official information, a source told us that the SUVs alone could cost in the neighborhood of $2.5 million, not to mention the pickups and the passenger vans. The customs duty on the entire fleet and the furniture would be substantial.
We went to BEC Ltd. in an attempt to get some clarity on the situation, but we were told that the manager, David Vasquez, is out of the country, and his assistant manager was out of the city.
We were directed to speak to a secretary in the sales department, but when we asked her what she knows about the government SI and the 75 vehicles, she replied that she did not know anything.
The substantive minister for the Ministry of Economic Development, Petroleum, Investment, Trade and Commerce is Hon. Erwin Contreras.
Belize Estate Company Ltd., which was formerly Belize Estate and Produce Company, Ltd., a company that was registered in the United Kingdom in 1875, was one of the largest landholders in Belize until it was acquired by the Bowen Group in 1983.