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Dec 9, 2010

Taxi Operators upset about zoning of Tourism Village

It was Day One of the new zoning project at the Fort Street Tourism Village. But instead of having the desired effect of bringing a semblance of order to the otherwise chaotic tourism village, there was more confusion than usual.  Tour guides, vendors and other industry players were unable to access visitors from four cruise ships that made calls to the port today. And no business means no bread on the table just before the Christmas.  News Five’s Marion Ali reports.

Marion Ali, Reporting

This morning it was not business as usual for some of the people who rely on tourism at the Fort Street Tourism Village to earn a living. Today was day one of the implementation of a new zoning and planning system being introduced by the Belize Tourism Board and the Belize City Council.  But while those who devised the plan say its purpose is to eliminate confusion – that was exactly what happened when some stakeholders realized they were not making any money.

Raymond McFadzean, Vice Pres., Tourist Village Taxi and Transfer Assn.

raymond mcfadzean

“On the outside here we have about five different crews: we have taxi, we have tour guides, we have horse and carriage, you have braiders on the outside here. Everybody outside here is not benefitting. Because the people are not coming outside here.”

Marion Ali

“And how many are inside?”

Raymond McFadzean

“There is only one association that is inside there.”

john pollard

John Pollard, Pres., Tourist Village Taxi and Transfer Assn.

“My Association has sixty eight members and we need to call a meeting very urgent by tomorrow to decide what will be the next move. Because out of sixty-eight members, thirty two members deh dah terminal four alone. And that is how it is today. Ten members gone pan tour and nobody else doing tour right now.”

According to President of the Tourist Village Taxi and Transfer Association, John Pollard, when the gate at terminal four was kept open previously, everyone who waits on the street to get jobs had a better chance to make money.  But such was not the case today.

John Pollard

“The other people on the other side are not complaining but here we are at terminal four and at terminal four this dah where we have to eat too.

Marion Ali

“Are you saying they are selecting choice people?”

John Pollard

“Well what happen they actually have a dispatcher service that dispatches personnel as soon as you come and talk to the dispatcher, the dispatcher say to you taxi or tour or horse and carriage. But I am saying the gate opening was not a part of the discussion for the gates to open and close.”

Cecil Gill, Tour Guide

cecil gill

“They make money and we make money if it is left opened so this right there is madness and all it does it’s the frustration of the drivers out here.”

But City Councilor responsible for Tourism, Wayne Usher, said the gate was closed to avoid more chaos and promised that by the time the kinks are worked out, everyone will get an equal chance to make a living.

Wayne Usher, City Councilor

“What I picked up during my tour this mo0rning, there is some apprehension and that is expected by some of the vendors, some of the tour guides, some of the taxi drivers that they might be left out, other people might get in front of them and that type of thing.”

Marion Ali

“But the ones we spoke with, that was not apprehension they were expressing. The ones we spoke with told us specifically before this change, they would have already made at least a couple tours. This morning we left there at almost noon and they had made nothing.”

wayne usher

Wayne Usher

“A lot of the same people who you are saying didn’t get a tour were standing outside looking on to see what the process looks like, what’s it going to be, how it is going to impact them, rather than staying in the line as we really wanted and waiting. Actually, they weren’t waiting in the designated areas where they were supposed to be waiting. They were waiting outside the gates and that’s not where they are supposed to be waiting. You are to be called up when the tourist comes and say listen I want horse and boogie, then we call you up, you sell the package at that time. The point of the matter is that we are going to have little kinks in the wheel, but we will iron it out over a shorter period rather than a longer period because this is high season and we need to have them get their income.”

Until the “teething problems” are ironed out, these people will not be able to make money at a time when tourism takes flight in Belize and also at a time when it matters most to them – Christmas.

Cecil Gill

“This supposed to be the high season, but hey how ih wah affect me? Adversely because I noh wah got money fi do nothing. That’s the main thing right there; dah wah bread and butta issue. I wake up three o’clock dah morning fi get up and get out yah and yo wahn ker home something.”

Marion Ali For News Five.

Other cruise ships are scheduled to call on Thursday and it appears that for now the situation will persist. The BTB did not want to comment.

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6 Responses for “Taxi Operators upset about zoning of Tourism Village”

  1. fromafar says:

    oh dear, change causes such panic doesnt it? jejejeje

  2. Josie says:

    so much for manipulation by big company. How much is btia being paid by the cruise operators to stifle their own belizean brothers and sisters

  3. Earl Grey says:

    We Belizeans HAVE TO LEARN HOW TO ORGANIZE OURSELVES!!!!!!!

    or…………. WE will always be FIGHTING THE UP-HILL BATTLE……….
    we need to operate from a position of power……….WHICH COMES FROM UNITY!!!!!!!

  4. Earl Grey says:

    BTB…………..should be the MODERATOR.

  5. Oscar965 says:

    The City of Belize is NOT READY for Cruise Tourism. Belize as a country is not ready. We jumped into this with our heads in the sand. We need to educate, train and organize ourselves because right now we look like we have no idea what we are doing and yes we look like fools. The TV pictures show our hard working Belizeans hustling the cruise tourists, and a hustled tourist will not go back home with a positive image of our nation. Too bad…cause i lay the blame of this on the Government…both PUP and UPD and also on the BTB…BTB too many meetings…enough…start training….and certifying everyone who wants to work in the tourism field. If you ARE NOT trained, then you do not belong in the tourism industry.

  6. EL CHE says:

    Havent we learned in belize that buisness in belize is monopolize?i mean controled by a few,who are family members of politicians?they are the ones who get rich.just like the oil in spanish lookout,politicians,family member,and all the lawfirms in belize are making the big $$$$$,while belizeans keep living in misery.

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