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Newly appointed Chief Executive Officer for the Corozal Commercial Free Zone, Valentino Blanco, has been suspended by the Board of Directors. This comes after Blanco found himself involved in a number of allegations of corruption and the administrative staff of the zone decided to stage a protest against him by not going to work on April 27th, 2017.

Reports suggest that the office staff wants Blanco gone and so does the Board of Directors and all indications are that they are closer to obtaining their objective. On Friday last the Board of Directors met to discuss and investigate the industrial action taken against Blanco and with the objective of amending the situation a motion was passed unanimously by the board to suspend Blanco from his duties as CEO for a period of 30 days. That decision was relayed to Blanco today via a letter dated May 2nd, 2017 and signed by CCFZ Chairman Gregory Gibson who spoke with the media today on the issue.


“What right now is the status at the Free Zone; the CEO was suspended, what is the effect on that on the operations of the Free Zone?”

Screen_Shot_2017-05-02_at_8.08.47_PMGregory Gibson – Chairman CCFZ

“The Board thought that under the existing circumstances it was necessary for the situation to calm down, the Board will conduct an investigation into the concern of the staff and the accusations against the CEO and at the end of that one month suspension period then they will make a formal positon, as it stand right now it’s for merely for calming the situation and to give us time to investigate if there is indeed grounds for the staff feelings or if the CEO has done anything that requires some correction or maybe some is just a management style approach but we looking at certain areas.”


“Now the Chairman of the Chamber Free Zone has expressed some great concerns about certain transactions or certain decisions that the CEO made which he believes amounts to misfeasance, what is your opinion, are there transactions or decisions which the CEO makes which are caused for great concern?”

Gregory Gibson – Chairman CCFZ

“I don’t’ think speaking on behalf of the Board that we have reached that decision we believe that these things need to be further ventilated, establish perhaps if maybe there were procedural errors that were made and I say perhaps more so at issue of fear to communicate properly and perhaps a management style that was abrasive to error one concern.”



“In the letter which I just briefly sights speaks about a loss of confidence in the CEO is that the feeling of the Board?”


Gregory Gibson – Chairman CCFZ

“Well, we gathered that based on the sentiment an what we were gathering was taking place in the social media that the atmosphere did not gave for a situation where you have simply have a one and one across the table and the CEO and the staff and ultimately the private sector so we felt that we needed some sort of space to accomplish that privacy atmosphere without having pressured been brought upon the investigation.”


“Now the CEO he left this afternoon, it’s a thirty day suspension, I know you can’t prejudge what the findings of the investigation would be but had you had any communication with hi is it his wish to return or just he sees to vindicate himself?”

Gregory Gibson – Chairman CCFZ

“Well, certainly the CEO continues to wish to return and imprint his objectives in terms of increasing revenue and perhaps performance in the Free Zone so I recognize that, he was honest enough to say that he felt that at the end of the day he will be vindicated so we expect that he, we will continue to have communication with him until such time that a final decision is made.”

In the letter Blanco is informed as to why he was suspended and there are four points and we quote: One: breach in confidentiality, two: breach to the terms and conditions of employment, three: loss of confidence from the staff and CFZ private sector and four: failure to execute your duty in an impartial manner.

As you might already know Blanco, who is the brother-in-law of Minister of State in the Ministry of Health Angle Blanco, was politically appointed as the CEO of the free zone. And this is where the problem arises says Chairman of the free zone as the staff feel intimated by their boss.


“Now, you spoke about management style, but how of this has to do with the fact that in the Free Zone many time the CEO or in most cases is a political appointment and it has somebody in Belmopan who is backing him up so it is not like someone which the Board screens and gets it is just how politics work, was that a complicated factor in this in that it is relative a minister of state?”

Gregory Gibson – Chairman CCFZ

“I think perhaps you could say that by virtue of that relationship was more difficult than that and I certainly felt that perhaps the staff and because of that relationship that they did not have that kind of open door relationship that could allow them confidentiality in terms of the objectivity of the CEO, that may have been the biggest issue.”


“Ok now, I know from a number of months after Raul left you all were without a CEO, is everything normal, operations are running smooth in the Zone after the stake out on Thursday as well?”

Gregory Gibson – Chairman CCFZ

“Right, the situation are completely back to normal if you get a chance you can look at the infrastructure project that is well on its way we expect to increase the business in the Zone and I think that the investors are pleased that we have move quickly to stabilize this situation and I think is the biggest perhaps objective of the Board in introducing the suspension.”


“And so going forward will there be a subcommittee that looks into the or make the investigation after these complains?”

Gregory Gibson – Chairman CCFZ

“Yes this committee at least comprising two members of the Board will look into these allegations.”

Today the media also got an interview from the president of the free zone Chamber of Commerce Kishore Makhijanii who expanded on some of the very serious allegations made against Blanco which as we’ve told you before are being investigated. We will have more on this story in tomorrow’s newscast.

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