Over the weekend, the northern border turned chaotic as Free Zone workers attempting to cross the Immigration point early in the morning to get to work in the Commercial Free Zone were told that they will be required to bring their passports or apply for the Belize border I.D. pass to be able to cross.
The new rule was relayed suddenly and it caught several hundred workers by surprise on Saturday, causing a bottleneck at the border as confused workers tried to figure out how they would get to work. We understand that the requirement continues.
Since the commencement of the Free Zone, its workers have been able to cross the border point with the use of a Free Zone I.D. pass. The Free Zone is a statutory body which allows them to make special arrangements for their workers, but it seems the ground rules have changed, and no one at the Zone is quite happy about it.
It is strongly believed that the decision to require immigration IDs is a financial one since the border pass application cost $25 each and with some 3,000 employees trafficking the area daily, that secures $75,000 in funds annually.
The decision is also very controversial and will surely fuel the movement born from a group of Belizeans here in Orange Walk who are against the requirement to scan their passports, simply to visit the Casino outside the Free Zone compound.