On Thursday we spoke to CEO in the Ministry of Trade and Investment, Michael Singh, about reports that workers from Guatemala were being hired by Santander Sugar, the Spanish firm that owns Green Tropics Limited’s operation in central Cayo District. The Government has been on record as not permitting the hiring of workers from outside Belize who can do the jobs that Belizeans can, and Mr Singh says that while the report is not confirmed, the firm is being monitored.
“Any employee they bring in has to the Labour Department, has to go through the work process. The agreement with them is that they are able to bring in skilled people, if they cannot find the skill in Belize.
The process is that they would have to advertize the job, and they would have to prove that they’d advertized it for three consecutive weeks, and they would have to show that they did not get the type of qualified people to fill that role.
Even based on that, the imported employee would still have to be qualified through the Labour Department, for a work permit. So, it’s not that simple.
I have not heard any reports of them doing that, and I do know for a fact that there is constant monitoring of their activities both by the Labour Department and Social Security.”
It is not clear if there are any penalties under Belize’s laws for such acts, but the companies in question may well be ostracized as a result.