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May 9, 2017

Proposed Fees Eased for Memorial Park Vendors as Better Service Promised

Darrell Bradley

The last we heard, vendors in the Fort George Tourism Zone were resistant to the efforts of the Belize City Council to collect a three-hundred dollar trade license for service in the vicinity of Memorial Park. In conjunction with the Belize Tourism Board, there is also effort to regulate traffic around the Zone, out of the Tourism Village, and into the Memorial Park, where millions of dollars have been spent in upgrades. On the Council’s part, Belize City Mayor Darrell Bradley gave us some details of the compromise that has been reached.

 

Darrell Bradley, Belize City Mayor

“The reason why we engaged with the vendors was not necessarily the fees; the fees [are] a component of the proper management of the Tourism Zone. B.T.B., together with the City Council, are doing a significant amount of work in that area; a significant amount of improvements have been done in infrastructure improvements, security management – all of those things come at a cost. So that part of the discussions with them was to really lay out a plan for the more efficient management of the Fort Street Tourism Zone, including the passage of regulations to put in place a stakeholder committee that will replace the B.T.B. and Belize City Council task force that we now have in place. But as part of those discussions, the fee is there; and when the Memorial Park was renovated together with the infrastructures under the Sustainable Tourism Project there was an operations manual which spoke about fees. And the fees aspect of it dealt with the issue of sustainability, so that we’re still moving ahead with that. We are mindful of the fact that people are saying that it is expensive; business, in terms of business climate is very difficult, so that what we have done is that we have come down to a point where it is acceptable and affordable for them.”

 

Reporter

“Can you speak to specifics in terms of figures?”

 

Darrell Bradley

“I can’t speak – I know in terms of the rental amount, I think we have dropped to about fifty percent, so that I think the original cost was about three hundred dollars, we dropped to one fifty. We actually came up with these figures in terms of the amount that it costs us to spend on the Zone and to deal with issues in terms of traffic and monitoring, special constables, garbage collection, maintenance and so forth in the area. I know that in some areas we have dropped down by fifty percent, but that’s actually put together by the committee – the Council signs off on it – but our instructions are that we will agree with them an affordable fee that still allows us to carry out a fair degree of services in that area, that’s paid for by that fee.”

 

There is no indication of when the fee will or has gone into effect.

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