Free Zone Business Owner Disclaims Any Knowledge of Cocaine Shipment

Samer Akil Rada has told a Mexican newspaper that he has nothing to do with the major cocaine shipment of over a thousand pounds that was intercepted in Salvador, but destined for his Free Zone company.

He told Informativo Quintana Roo that the business of which he is a partner, called Cargoyo has 138 clients and provides logistic support and transportation services for packaged products from different parts of the world.

He tells the newspaper that he did not know that the container of buckets of pineapple juice was actually filled with cocaine. He says that his company was only hired to transport the container within Belizean territory from Benque Viejo del Carmen to the Free Zone. He further explained that there were actually two containers being shipped. One of them had the drugs which were intercepted but the other made it to the Corozal Free Zone. By that time, however, the frozen pineapple juice had spoilt because of all the checks.

He pointed out that those who loaded the shipment were employees of Costa Rican company “Productos Florida S.A” and holds that none of “CargoYo’s” employees were present at the time of loading. The media quotes Rada as saying “I want to make clear that I am not missing; I am showing my face” end quote.

Rada says “CargoYo” has been in existence for 8 years. During that time, Rada was elected to serve on the Free Zone’s Board of Directors – until he was voted off in May of 2012.

Channel 7 It is a well-known fact in Belize’s financial sector that the different lending institutions have excess liquidity, but there is not enough investors making loans to meet the demands. So, the institutions have to come up with ways to attract customers to borrow from them, and that is difficult because none wants to actually make bold reduction in their interest rates.

Well, St. John’s Credit Union is making such a move by reducing their residential mortgage rate from 12% to 8%, providing its customers with unheard-off savings since the start of the different credit union institutions in Belize.

Today, 7News stopped by to ask the General Manager why they are giving such back to their customers, and she told us that it’s something they’ve been requesting for some time now:

Daisy Dawson – General Manager, SJCU
“When we look at what is happening in the market in respect to residential mortgage, you can see that rates are going down. Our members have been asking us for quite some time now, if our credit union will look at those rates and if we would be reducing ours as well. And so the management and board decided that we needed to explore and see what it is that we can do to address that concern and so we went through an exercise and here we are today. We have come up with an interest rate of 8% on the reducing balance – for the life of the loan and for a maximum of 25 year. Of course this comes at a time when we’re rebranding – in June we did our rebranding of the credit union where we came up with our new tagline and logo ‘Safe Savings and Smart Borrowing’ and the words ‘smart borrowing’ tell you that our members and the general public at large is shopping around for the best rates and so with that in mind we have to make sure that we are addressing that concern and that call from our members. A lot of our members are at the lower strata and there are some of them who would want to own their own homes between $25,000-$35,000 but at 12% it’s a little bit challenging for them and so when you look at the 8% then we recognize that we will be able to embrace some of those members who want to realize that dream of owning their own home. I think it puts us in a very good position because the other financial institutions – it’s not a guarantee rate for the life of the loan and ours is and it’s a maximum of 25 years Additionally we have to look at the benefits that one derives from being a member of the Credit Union and accessing loans.”

Members who already have mortgages with the Credit Union will be able to refinance their current loan to take advantage of the low interest rate. The Credit Union will also look into possibly buying over mortgages of its members, which they have with other financial institutions, so that they can have access to the low rates.

Channel 7