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Nov 17, 2014

BTB Concedes…FECTAB Speaks

A press conference was held this morning during which FECTAB officially announced that the forty eight inch regulation which prohibits persons less than four feet in height from enjoying caving activities has been put on hold. The tour operators now have until the end of December to work out the wrinkles of the regulation. While there is temporary reprieve, the issue of Dark Night continues to loom. News Five’s Isani Cayetano reports.

 

Isani Cayetano, Reporting

Following a meeting a week ago, during which members of the Federation of Cruise Tourism Associations of Belize went off in a huff, the National Institute of Culture and History has extended a grace period regarding the forty-eight inch rule at Nohoch Che’en.

 

Tom Greenwood, President, FECTAB

Tom Greenwood

“I am informing you that, as per your request we are granting an amnesty period through to December 31st, 2014 for enforcement of the forty-eight inches height requirement.  In the meantime we will review and give careful consideration to the proposal for a new minimum height requirement and other concerns raised in the meeting regarding the policy manual emanating from the Health and Safety Standards legislation.  We will of course engage you further in these deliberations.”

 

According to tour operator David Almendarez, the temporary reprieve should be used by all parties, including the Belize Tourism Board, to address all issues pertaining to the newly implemented health and safety regulations.

 

David Almendarez, Executive, FECTAB

David Almendarez

“I’d like to remind the Belizean public that this is not a pardon, this is just a stay of execution.  The stay of execution will end December thirty-first. We’re calling on NICH and the powers that be that we meet immediately or as soon as possible so come January first we will not be running around with our heads [cut] off.  Ladies and gentlemen, what has happened in our industry doesn’t happen anywhere else in the world.  People get an unfair advantage everyday over us Belizeans.  It is of note that we’re about to send a letter to the BTB first addressing, and NICH, addressing that we got a letter from them and we are waiting to meet as urgently as possible so we can meet on the issue of the forty eight inches.  But we also want to meet on the issue of Dark Night’s three-year contract.  How can a company get three years unprecedented access to your archaeological site that no one else can do in this country?”

 

That agreement, which purportedly only suits Dark Night and NICH, sees cave-tubing through the network of sacred caves being sold at its most expensive.

 

Yhony Rosado, Executive, FECTAB

Yhony Rosado

“Dark Night have just came up in play now and they’re selling a cheap tour and their expensive tour where only they can do at a hundred and thirty-nine dollars.  The cave-tubing, the cave that we have done for many years which is the largest, the most beautiful one, the most relaxing one, the most guarded one by BTB, NICH and this government it is selling right now for thirty-five dollars, twenty-five dollars per person.  I know you guys in the media must be thinking, “Da unu di sell it so cheap.”  It is not us, it is the cruise ship selling our cave at Nohoch Che’en at a very low price because anybody can go there and the other caves where they have exclusivity they sell it very expensive.”

 

Tour operator Yhony Rosado acknowledges that the seemingly preferential treatment flies in the face of everything they have collected founded over the past decade.

 

Yhony Rosado

“You know weh hurt me, that Dark Night can go do tours at our Nohoch Che’en caves, you know weh hurt me that they can do their training at our caves and you know we hurt me that caves branch use their cave systems and come out through our caves and you know weh hurt me, that Chukka use two cave but we can’t use their exclusivity so the caves that we have make a profit and make a business. The price of being spoiled not by our local tour operators but by the big foreign tour operators.”

 

Isani Cayetano reporting for News Five.

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Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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4 Responses for “BTB Concedes…FECTAB Speaks”

  1. Louisville, Ky. says:

    Ah haffu ask dis eena broad Kriol: Da weh di go aan wid NICH an dattideh crowd da BTB man?
    Soh unnu still tink dat da only the Politicians da Belize Corrupt?

    What excuse or explanation, do the authorities have, to be giving exclusive and preferential treatment to foreign tour companies over local grassroots operators?
    If Dark Knight or daylight, believes that FECTAB is going to go quietly into the night, (pun intended) then, I have those same caves to sell them.
    This exactly, is what Mr. Price envisioned, when he was reluctant to open up this country to tourism, as it could easily make it’s own citizens second class, scrambling for the crumbs from the tourism pie. And now……Bam, si deh??

  2. Hatari says:

    International standards are put in place to protect and assure the safety of our visitors and bring Belize up to standard with the rest of the world. If you want to play on an international scale you must play by international rules. As far as the business end of this controversy goes, it’s called CAPITALISM! Business is business and that is they way it is. Get up to standard, cut your expenses, manage your business properly and compete. It is what it is.

  3. Eye in the Sky says:

    BTB is extremely corrupt and racist.

    I advise tourists to stay away from Belize or risk being murdered by the BTB and government sponsored Gangs.

    Go to Mexico instead. Better attractions, friendly to tourists, cheaper, cleaner.

  4. CEO says:

    Why every dam thing in Belize always come with drama?

    People in charge just bark out rules that are not well thought out or discussed.

    Come up with rules that will not kill an industry: if they have a requirement that says if you are under 4 feet you need a smaller tube…etc that would make way more sense. Please start thinking before you talk.

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