A local iconic business established in September of 1981 by the “Rosado” family has announced that it is closing its doors for good. The hardware store was opened in 1981 by a young and aspiring entrepreneur Andy Rosado and his father, both of Corozal Town.

In speaking with Andy Rosado and his wife this morning, the National Hardware Store located on 4th Avenue has been in business for 33 years and started as a very small family operated hardware store outgrowing its potential over time.

However, he admits that over the past four years his business’ level playing field has shifted towards over saturation of hardware businesses by Asian/Oriental immigrants to Corozal. Many of these immigrant business owners are given trade and business licenses to operate in Corozal without proper consultation with the local business community.

We note that another local business which has suffered the same fate recently was the iconic "Idelmar" that was located on 7th Avenue.

The competitiveness among these immigrants is fierce as the local businesses are scrutinized by the tax department but most of these immigrants operate their business with having two or three different tax receipts books and so are able to circumvent the tax department and thus are able to undersell their products and literally knock the locals out of business.

Now, these immigrants are moving into the smaller outlying villages where shops and restaurants have been the territory of village-born Belizeans. But often the Asian-owned shops stay open longer hours and offer better prices, two things that attract customers who may have been dealing with only their fellow villager's shops in the past.

It is an amazing number who have set up small convenience stores and Chinese food restaurants. In Corozal, we estimate that 90% of the restaurants, take out shacks, stores and restaurants are Chinese owned and the trend continues to favour these immigrants.

It sure must be hard for the local Belizeans to earn a living with all this fierce competition, corrupted and unscrupulous business practices. Truly, these immigrants expatriate all of their profit back to their mother homeland and leave very little in Belize to circulate in our economy. All these monies leave our country and is lost in foreign exchange.

Resentment is very high in the Belize society as is their practice to start a new business beside a Belizean and under sell him/her. In time, they usually end up buying out the Belizean business (shop) that is struggling and not making any money and turn it into a profitable business by keeping shelves stocked and open regularly.

Belize is a culturally diverse nation linking the Caribbean and Central American regional markets. Belize is a member of the Caribbean Community Single Market and Economy (CSME) as well as the Central American Integration System (SICA). Belize has a small economy with a Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2013 of US$1.604 billion. Its lead foreign exchange earners are tourism, agriculture (including but not limited to the traditional “big three” of citrus, bananas, and sugar cane), and petroleum. Belize features a year-round sub-tropical climate suitable for year-round tourism, and is conducive to cultivating quality agricultural crops year-round.

The immigrants to Belize are mostly small business owners who have come to Belize because there is more opportunity here than in their home country to start a business. We understand that they even receive some economic assistance from their home country to immigrate elsewhere. There are many also in other parts of Central America as the climate is similar to Taiwan's.

Orientals immigrated from Peoples Republic, Taiwan and Hong Kong. Some families in Belize go back three or more generations. Taiwan is vying for nationhood status in the UN and thus has been very generous to nations like Belize hoping for our votes in the UN.

We at the Corozal Daily note a larger number of our Belizean population that travel on a regular basis across Chetumal, Mexico to do their daily personal purchases and this alone takes away from our local economy. With this daily practice much is lost in foreign exchange in our struggling local economy.

Note: This article was written without any prejudice. These are the real facts in a real life situation!

Power to the Belizean People in the struggle!

Corozal Daily