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Mar 17, 2011

Mahogany Street Vendors want to parley with B.E.L., P.U.C. and City Council

The headline on Wednesday was that twenty-three vendors and their families may soon have to close down their businesses on Mahogany Street if they can’t find a suitable relocation area. Belize Electricity Limited contends that there is danger to vendors who operate immediately below the transmission line that brings power to Belize City.  B.E.L. claims that when the line was built, there was no development in the area. But the City Council gave permission to entrepreneurs to set up shop on Mahogany Street, and now B.E.L. insists that they move by the end of the year at which time they will cut their access to electricity.  A community representative and aspiring politician, Mark King, is corralling the vendors to unite with one voice. King has gotten most of the vendors to sign a letter to B.E.L., City Council and the Public Utilities Commission inviting them to dialogue about how these businesses can continue to operate.

Mark King, U.D.P. Lake I Candidate/Community Representative

“We all met and we believe that B.E.L. used the hard stick approach. We believe that B.E.L. just threw a letter on them and decide ok you have to move. And we are saying that is not the way to do things.”

Jose Sanchez

“They needed dialogue.”

Mark King

Mark King

“Of course. So what we are trying to do now is that we have written B.E.L. and the City Council a letter and we are trying to arrange a meeting for all parties involved: the P.U.C., the Belize City Council and B.E.L. to come in and talk to these people because at the end of the day, this is their livelihood; this is where they feed their family from. Some of the points that B.E.L. has pointed out, we find completely flawless in terms of some of them not being rightful meanings for removal from the grounds. When you look at the law for high tension wires, it doesn’t means that only the immediate structure under those wires has to be moved. It means that structures nearby those wires also are affected that same way. And there are schools and there are police stations and there’s a lot of things. However, the purpose of this meeting would be to dialogue whether or not these people are going to move or not. And should they come up with a final decision to move, then we’re going to talk about compensation. Should they decide not to move, then we’re going to look at our other options and that includes legal action, I guess. But at the end of the day, we’re so much not hoping for that—we’re hoping that this can be an amicable thing between the Belize City Council P.U.C. and the people because at the end of the day, these people have been there for quite a number of years. Can you imagine how it would feel if somebody just come and tell you, you have to evacuate your business? And what we are saying also is that, in the first place, B.E.L. was the one who allowed these people to be hooked up to electricity under the power line. So you really can’t go fight that ina court because again dah you hook them up with that. So you cost them expenses already to be there and now you gonna cost them again to move from there. So we are saying B.E.L., come sit down softly with us; let’s look at this again and let’s work out something.”

Jose Sanchez

“How soon do you expect a response from B.E.L.?”

Mark King

“We’re not applying any pressure on B.E.L. at all. I have spoken to the Deputy Mayor of the Belize City Council. He has assured me that this matter will be looked into and a meeting will be set up with the including parties so that we can address this matter as soon as possible.”

B.E.L. has not given any indication of compensation except to say that the vendors will not be billed for connection fees when they move to a new venue.

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3 Responses for “Mahogany Street Vendors want to parley with B.E.L., P.U.C. and City Council”

  1. BZNinCALI says:

    Organize, negotiate & make sure you do not get the short end of the stick, moving may not be that bad. Commercial mixed use condos, each unit individually owned is a very reasonable compromise & consistent with our culture of living & working from the same location. Let BEL show their community spirit & commitment to making Belize a better place.

  2. MyLegacyB4myPeople says:

    Congratulations Mr. King for taking up the cause of these vendors, I say BEL should pay for all cost associated with moving these vendors since they are the ones that hooked them up with the electricity in the first place, I wish you luck Mr. King in awaiting a response and dialogue from BEL just don’t hold your breath while doing so, hope Mr. Barrow don’t get upset with you for taking the side of these vendors and have the party again deny you to run in the election. Maybe all these vendors should go get a medical examination to see if there any medical conditions associated with the presence of nearby high powered wires and if such conditions are found that would bring upon BEL additional liabilities that they should compensate for. Remember, My Legacy B 4 My People.

  3. J says:

    BEL, by special interest, offered free welcoming & aid at the public’s cost (vendors) to provide services of electrical form to who might connect & pay at any cost the fees to tender blow the high tension lines.

    To escape from validating their real issues of war which they might be facing internally, they seek to further oppress & deprive those loyal customers who tender below their lines for so many years, to now discover BEL calls famine on their daily bread. They were content to have been earning a subsistence of payments from those who are now the oppression of the fugitive (BEL). They indeed asked nothing of the oppressed but what they call reasonable returns for the services they provided.

    No golden vision threw a deceitful halo around the head of BEL until, they asked, or ordered these legal tenders to remove, relocate or seize sales in their shops below the high tension lines because of health risks. But the only issue truly is, is that why after so many years of service, they BEL discovered their claim, a hypothesis tested all over the world with not successful result yielding real evidence of health risks. Is it only a service for money BEL seeks, what ever happened to good for all its customers? I believe I just unlocked a door to which BEL wished we never knocked upon.

    The oppressed were content with the rates of this service & the slow but steady progress of their social polity. They patiently endured they oppression of skyrocketing utility fees, watering the tree of liberty & democracy wit their tears & with the sweat of their brow, till it took deep root in the land.

    Their shacks from which they sold toil to provide this service to society is what they old as foundation of independence & bread for not only them but for their families, still wit utility bills high, te oppressed found a way to employ, unemployed reducing the unemployment rate, thus shortening their income to help the oppressed.

    Thus again was demonstrated the unrighteous results or BEL, of attempting to not only deprive but continuously oppress & sink deeper nails of poverty into the hands of the not so fortunate but struggling citizens of Belize, because after years they miraculously discovered the adverse risk of radiation they claim is affecting those who tender, *directly below utility lines*, forgetting the schools, police substations & homes that are too supposedly exposed to radiation. Are they too next on the hit list to be wiped out, or is it the entire country that needs to relocated, leaving BEL desolate to enjoy paying for a service which they provide for themselves? Food for thought.

    The freedom & comfort to tender legally, enjoyed by all of these vendors, the ambitious desire to attain a place which reads their names, a location that not only defines them, a landmark which allows them to make their daily bread, is now being swiped from under their feet, wit an ultimatum to relocate, to a venue which might be less desirable or prosperous than the present one, soon to be previous ones. BEL pointing out their points to the signs of demolition of over ten (10) small businesses foretells the backsliding that should exist for these people. Should these people be left jobless, income-less, then what? See the bigger picture, BEL does not care. Yes they offered free reconnection at a new location, how about compensation for funds needed to relocated to a new business?

    Fear, anxiety & awe gradually upload into the minds of not only these vendors, but vendors across our country. Vendors now look upon their joy, pride & happiness with sadness some even with tears in their eyes & a heaviness in their hearts, pondering on all the memories & dedication to which their independence means more to them than gold. BEL has now bidden their customers to embrace their tokens of their traitor like actions, even though the spirit of humility still gave devotion unto these vendors pride & formalism, & trust in the very same company who seeks to continually oppress them.

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