In the global world of sandwich making, Subway is king and in 2003 Belize
got its first international fast food chain when a Subway restaurant was opened
on Freetown Road. But the Subway on Freetown Road has been closed since Saturday
and will stay that way for a while. Well, things dread, apparently even for
multinational franchises. Why? Keith Swift found out.
Keith Swift Reporting,
Subway, it is an international brand sold at 26,000 locations in 78 countries.
One of those locations is here on Freetown Road in Belize City. But the fast
food chain no longer feels welcomed in Belize.
Shelmadine Martinez, Subway Employee
"She told our manager that if it is left to her, there wouldn't be a
Subway in Belize and I think that is unfair because we are Belizeans that work
here, not foreigners."
The problem is that the Subway chain requires that all their franchises use
a specific type of meat, cheese, and bread. To import the special cheese and
special meat, Subway needs a permit from government. That is where the problems
begin. The store's manager applied to the Ministry of Finance for a permit to
import the required ingredients but he was denied.
Jenecia Frazer, Subway Employee
"Subway is a franchise and if you use local meat it won't be a franchise
anymore. It would be probably be something like Super Subz and everybody knows
that we have Subway, Subway is standardized. Something things we use, Super
Subz doesn't use. That is why it is a Subway."
And so since last week Saturday Subway has been closed. There has been no meats in these tray. Customers have been turned back and that means the store's 11
employees are out of a job.
"We have kids to feed and we have bills to pay also."
So how is this affecting you guys?
"It is really bad because school is almost open right now and then we
don't have any jobs, we don't have any money to continue our schools."
"I cannot believe it is closed."
"Yes. From Sunday morning, from Saturday about 9o'clock the restaurant
"We want the lady to understand our pain that we need our job. As she
said before, it is not that aliens are working here, it is we Belizeans and
as the Prime Minister said he wants to give us more jobs but if we want to give
us more jobs, we have about 11 people working here and if we close down, what
will we do. Right now it is very hard to find a job, especially if you don't
have a sixth form qualification or something like that. It is really hard to
find a job. We love our job. W e realty do love our job."
It is a job they love but it is also a that Jenecia, Shelmadine, Florence,
and Tifanny is unable to do as they sit in empty restaurant.
The permit for importation was denied by the Ministry of Finance and no
one was available for comment.