January 24, 2006
Belize Comptroller of Customs Dodges Wrongdoing Allegations
Belize City, Belize 23 January 2006 (Belizean.com) Local media houses are reporting that Belize's Comptroller of Customs has refused to talk to the media over persistent allegations of wrongdoing within his department by officers working in the Belize-Mexico border.
Five months ago the Belize Chamber of Commerce launched an initiative to fight importation of contraband which has skyrocket following the introduction of higher taxes by the Belize government. The anti-contraband campaign was supposed to target truckloads and trailer loads of goods coming out of the free zone and the export processing zones.
However local media in the Corozal and Orange Walk Districts which border with Mexico, have been bombarded with allegations of wrongdoing within the system. Custom officers have been accused of confiscating loads of illegally imported goods, and then reselling these to local merchants.
The largest radio station in Belize, LOVE FM, reported today that “We have not been able to get an update on the progress of that campaign but we often hear about incidents involving custom officers and smugglers in the Orange Walk District. We have made numerous attempts to contact the Comptroller of Customs Mr. Gregory Gibson to get an update on the campaign and to respond to the allegations but we are consistently told that he is in a meeting or taking another call.”