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Joined: Oct 1999
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Marty Offline OP
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The Corozal Commercial Free Zone has had its share of recent troubles with imports falling drastically and sales plummeting as well. Now comes word that with a new man at the helm, administrative staff protested by not showing up to work today because of unenumerated 'issues' with their boss. News Five understands that all activity in the Zone shut down for today as meetings took place between top officials and some Government ministers to find solutions. Valentino Blanco, a former officer in the Department of the Environment, was appointed in March to succeed Raul Rosado, who had served for eight years. Information to News Five is that he is being accused of various abuses and running the Zone as a 'family business.' Blanco is said to be a supporter of Corozal Southwest area representative Doctor Angel Campos, who was in the Zone today for the meetings as seen in this video. We called Blanco's office several times and were told that he was in meetings and would not accept any calls.

Channel 5

Joined: Oct 1999
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Marty Offline OP
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CFZ CEO Suspended

The drama continued at the Corozal Free Zone today. That's because at a meeting on Friday, the board of directors decided unanimously to suspend CEO Valentino Blanco for 30 days. A letter to Blanco says that he breached confidentiality, the terms and conditions of his employment and that has led to a loss of confidence from staff and the CFZ private sector. We got more today at the Free zone form Chairman Gregory Gibson:

Gregory Gibson, Chairman - Corozal Free Zone
"The board thought that under the existing circumstances that it was necessary for a situation to calm down. The board will conduct an investigation into the concerns of the staff and the accusations against the CEO. At the end of that one-month suspension period then they will make a formal position. As it stands right now it's merely for calming the situation and to give us time to investigate if there are indeed grounds for the staff feelings or if the CEO has done anything that requires some correction or maybe it's just a management style approach to things."

Kishure Makhijani, President, Chamber of Commerce Corozal
"The main allegations, the assets of the free zone are the assets of the free zone. There was one vehicle which belonged to the ex CEO or was sold by the CEO to his relative for $4,000. I understand that the price was okay, but the procedures have to come to the board. You can't decide on your own who you're going to sell the vehicle to."

Jules Vasquez, 7News
"The vehicle was a write off."

Kishure Makhijani, President, Chamber of Commerce Corozal
"There's no doubt about it. My problem and the chamber's problem for that is the procedure. To add insult to injury, the finance department is instructed by the CEO to pay the duty on it which is a meager $400. `I don't know how this thing works through my knowledge, the new buyer is supposed to pay the duty."

Jules Vasquez, 7News
"Are there transactions or decisions which the CEO made which are cause for great concern?"

Gregory Gibson, Chairman - Corozal Free Zone
"I don't think speaking on behalf of the board that we have reached that decision. We believe these things need to be further ventilated. Established perhaps if there were procedural errors that were made. I said perhaps more so that issue or failure to communicate properly and a management style that was abrasive to everyone's concern."

Kishure Makhijani, President, Chamber of Commerce Corozal
"There is too much political interference in this zone which is why at times the CFC administration is important. They always feel that because of the political interference."

Jules Vasquez, 7News
"Why is there political interference?"

Kishure Makhijani, President, Chamber of Commerce Corozal
"I don't know, this has been the trend since so many years, I being on the board more than 6 years. There is a lot of political interference. There is more but there are certain things which I will not be able to talk on camera but the reason being politics. I don't want to accuse anybody."

Jules Vasquez, 7News
"But you are accusing the CEO, you're saying there are people above him."

Kishure Makhijani, President, Chamber of Commerce Corozal

Jules Vasquez, 7News
"Bigger people involved in this type of what we called "malfeasants"."

Kishure Makhijani, President, Chamber of Commerce Corozal
"Yes I am, I am doing it and I'm not afraid to do it."

Despite the suspension Blanco showed up at work this morning. That act of what was interpreted to be defiance prompted business owners to crowd the office waiting area. They applauded when he left.

Channel 7

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