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Mar 28, 2011

Tour operator says guides and guests are being harassed

Tour operator, Yhonny Rosado, surfaced as one of the most outspoken critic in the recent cruise tourism crisis. Rosado was on the frontlines when the livelihood of tender operators came under threat by major cruise lines that call on Belize. Today, Rosado, who is the owner of CaveTubing.com, called a press conference and made serious allegations that his tour guides and guests are being harassed. News Five’s Marion Ali has a report on Rosado’s plight.

Marion Ali, Reporting

Flanked by the leaders the Federation of Cruise Tourism Associations of Belize, FECTAB, Tom Greenwood; Yolanda Schakron of Belizeans for Justice; and President of the Coalition Organized for Liberty through Action, COLA, Moses Sulph, owner of Cavetubing.com, Yhonny Rosado charged that the harassment against his company is carried out by elements of the Police Department.

Yhonny Rosado

Yhonny Rosado, Cavetubing.com

“If you go to Altun Ha, you don’t see manhandling because Cavetubing.com does not go there.  If you go to Xunantunich, you don’t see officers with guns because Cavetubing.com does not go to Xunantunich.  You go to Lamanai, you don’t see that.  Come to Caves Branch National Park, Nohoch Che’en, and you will see the police officer waiting for Cavetubing.com.   The police is provoking my guys and myself to do the wrong thing not knowing that we have the media and this is the tool that we are using to fight the cause.”

Rosado feels the treatment is the result of his position against Carnival Cruise Line and Chukka Bak-a-Bush Tours earlier this year when he spoke out against what he thought was unfair treatment by those companies on other local tour operators.  Now Rosado finds that it is his company that has come under heat and says that upon inquiry, he discovered that the attacks are orchestrated by the sector he least expected it from.

Yhonny Rosado

“And B.T.B. should answer because the police is there claiming that they are doing the job for the B.T.B.  B.T.B. is saying they’re spending thousands if not millions of dollars advertising our country. If they are advertising that Belize is beautiful, how comes our police officer is roughing my guys and my guests, that is not part of beautiful Belize.”

To bolster his allegations of harassment, Rosado had two of his employees on hand individuals who work for him in the industry to give first hand experiences during tours.  The testimonials have garnered the support of the Federation of Cruise Tourism Associations, FECTAB, whose President, Tom Greenwood was adamant in making a number of demands of those at the helm of the industry.

Tom Greenwood

Tom Greenwood, President, FECTAB

“To issue a statement on the crystal cave ramparts and stairs emplaced by Chukka Caribbean that spoils the whole view of that skylight, which I understand was put there with the permission of somebody from NICH. I am calling on Doctor Jaime Awe to live what he has told me; that that is sacred landscape to the Maya. Tek it down! I’m asking them to make a statement and a strong one on the uneven playing field at Caves Branch. We demand the immediate ceasing of a two-gate system. Everybody must go through that booth at NICH. Now we take it one stage further. The federation hereby requests the Prime Minister of Belize to suspend the license of Carnival Cruise Lines in Belize for three months—suspend Carnival Cruise Lines for three months. Show them who is the boss in Belize. And trust me when I tell you this, it ain’t the first time it will happen to those people. It’s happened in the Caribbean because they do nothing, but give trouble—they noh care. They do not care! So some of the islands, Cayman, magic. Cayman tell dehn hear what? Tell me when you gwen boss [because] I wah give your space to somebody else.”

Moses Sulph

The other leaders present, Yolanda Schakron and Moses Sulph, were fully supportive of Rosado.

Moses Sulph, President, COLA

“It is clear Mister Yhonny that because yoh stand up justice and because you stand up for what is right, you will be target of victimization and that is why people of all different level in society have to come together who are facign their small pockets of injustice within them own corner. Injustice everywhere to me is something that is wrong. And as long as it is injustice, it should not be tolerate. There should be what you call a level playing field that is given to Mister Yhonny and all the other tour operators.   We’re saying to the authorities—whether that be the B.T.B., the government, give a level playing field. If you check one, you check all. If you noh check all, noh check none at all.”

Yolanda Schakron

Yolanda Schakron, President, Belizeans for Justice

“We have decided that we will stand in solidarity with any organization that is facing injustice in any form. I know people who are my critics are out there saying why dah lady noh shet up ih mouth. Well this lady noh di shet up ih mouth because this lady, Belizeans for Justice, wants equality for our people.”

The allegations did not end at harassment because Rosado claims that there are other tour guides operating with fake licenses.  This is something News Five could not verify with the Belize Tourism Board because their Director, Seleni Matus was not in today and our call for their Director of Destination Planning, Kevin Gonzalez, was not returned.  We intend to follow up on this story in the days to come.  Reporting for News Five, I am Marion Ali.

Greenwood says if FECTAB does not get a satisfactory response from the powers that be within the next two weeks then his association will turn up the heat.

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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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7 Responses for “Tour operator says guides and guests are being harassed”

  1. BZNinCALI says:

    Isn’t there a sub station or Ranger station at the national park that has been there for a while? I’m not sure what the separate entries are about unless there is a lot of traffic going into the area & they are trying to reduce the wait time for large groups. If there are other local operators going into these areas, what has their experience been?

    Yolanda, shetting up is not the solution, you quoted MLK when your organization first came into being, I assume he & Gandhi are your role models. Please remember that Rosa Parks was not he first black woman to sit at the front of the bus, she was as close as he could get to Mother Teresa to make his point. Choose your battles, here in the states we have Gloria Allred whom by any standards is a good attorney but by coming across as a media hog, her message about women & human rights is no longer heard. We lost two more children this weekend, there are mothers out there crying who need a positive way to direct their grief.

  2. Josie says:

    How much is Ms matus and Mr. Gonzalez is being paid by carnival et al to torment our locals. There we go again putting the fox to care for the chickens Hmmmmmmmmmmmm

  3. rod says:

    go thomas greenwood i like the way you think it is refreshing to see people like you and shakron stand up and deliver not just talk fu talk sake but do what is right show this useless gov. where they can go worse gov. in the history of belize worse pm in the history of belize.

  4. Disgusted! says:

    Tom Greenwood and Yhonny Rosado are two of the very few people in Belize who I admire and respect. Belizeans are cowards and political @$$kissers so don’t expect them to come out in forces to support you guys at all Thom and Yhonny. Just do what you have to do and- TAKE NO PRISONERS!!!!!!!!!!!!

  5. spanglish says:

    YOLANDA SHAKCRON ES UNA PENDEJA IDIOTA, THIS WOMAN DI JUMP FROM WAGON TO WAGON, I DON’T KNOW IF SHE IS TRYING TO IMPRESS HER EX-HUSBAND OR HER RIVAL.
    OR MAYBE SHE IS TRYING TO FIND A MAN, BUT YOLANDA YOU LOOK LIKE AN IDIOT JUMPING AROUND LIKE A JUMPING JACK, GYAL GO DO SOME WORK DAH YOUR HOUSE AND TAKE CARE OF YOUR PICCNI DEM

  6. Lisa says:

    I agree-getting tired of seeing her every dam newsnight-she is worse than Philloby trying to find any camera she can apepar before

  7. Tom Greenwood says:

    My sincerest thanks for the support we are given in this nationalistic struggle to regain our dignity and our products. The people of Belize have, I would say, 99% given us tremendous encouragement in our fight against unfair and unwanted presence in Belize of people who simply do not belong here, as there are hundreds of Belizeans who can fit in easily into whatever the cruise industry requires to succeed. The presence of CHUKKA COVE of Jamaica is a deadly sore in the heart of our Beloved Belize. Yhonny Rosado has been a bulwark in FECTAB, and a brave and honourable person, in assisting us in the fight against this Jamaican interloper, and the sick games played by Carnival Cruise Lines exectutives in Belize. I pray that our efforts can somehow help all Belizeans regain that which is naturally, historically, politically, socially and morally ours. This is not just a cruise industry crisis – it is a national crisis of identity, existence, and terrible need. We must NOT, CANNOT leave this struggle for our children to settle. We must do this NOW.

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