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Tonight a resident from the Village of Guinea Grass is extremely upset with Officials from the Customs Department. This morning Arturo Perez visited our news center to vent on the treatment he has been getting from Custom officials since he started supplying businesses and restaurants with vegetable products. While the issue has been resolved, we deemed it necessary to air the story since it is a common occurrence. Perez claims that while getting off a bus near the Toll Bridge in Orange Walk, with his products, he was intercepted by Custom Officers. And this is where the harassment began, at least for that day.


Screen_Shot_2014-02-21_at_8.13.38_PMArturo Perez– Vegetable Vendor


“Son tomates, cebolla y frutas como jícama, entonces cuando estábamos yendo en el bus hacia Belice, porque yo los llevo a la isla, entonces los Customs estaban haya y ellos pararon el bus y lo chequearon y vieron los tomates y todo los que estaba adentro pero todo es Beliceño no es producto mexicano y ellos agarraron mis cosas aunque está viendo que es Beliceño lo sacaron y todo y los botaron porque ellos lo tienen que chequea bien que no sea mexicano y les estoy diciendo que no es y que vienen de Maskal y la cebolla pues tengo licencia de Marketing Board porque tengo recibo y todo eso pero ellos no quisieron ver nada solo lo tiraron en la camioneta y vinieron con las cosas en la oficina.”


Dalila Ical – reporter


“Exactamente adonde fue donde le quitaron sus cosas aquí en Orange Walk o hasta allí por Belice?”


Arturo Perez– Vegetable Vendor


“Alli en Toll Bridge”


Dalila Ical – reporter


“Así que lo trajeron para aquí para Orange Walk?”


Arturo Perez– Vegetable Vendor


“Si, lo trajeron para aquí en Orange Walk en la oficina.”


Dalila Ical – reporter


“Usted dice que no le quisieron ver o aceptar sus recibos?”


Arturo Perez– Vegetable Vendor


“No solo agarraron las cosas y me dijeron que ellos la van a llevar a la oficina.”


While the value of the vegetables was in the vicinity of one thousand dollars, this was the second time that Perez met face to face with officers since he started his business. For balance we visited the Customs and Excise Office here in Orange Walk to speak to an official about the incident.

 

While they corroborated the story, we were also informed that Perez omitted to mention that he did not have all the receipts from the produce he bought from middle men in Indian Creek and Maskall Villages and could only account for the sack of onions he bought from Belize Marketing Board.

 

Therein lays the problem officials say. As in this case, a call to authorities at BAHA was placed and verified that Perez was actually telling the truth about his suppliers, and was allowed to take back his vegetables. Vendors are reminded that receipts be kept in order for any products being transported in public or private vehicles as periodic checks are made members of the Customs Department.

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