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May 27, 2011

Bus operators agree to compromise and negotiate

Dean barrow

The Chairman of BBOC, Claude Frazer did not attend this afternoon’s press conference. There was tension in the room when it appeared that the BBA had changed its position about the negotiations earlier in the day. But at the end of the conference, the BBA, BBOC and the Northern bus operators agreed to flesh out the details of the compromise on Monday.

Dean Barrow

“I believe that almost as soon as the meeting was agreed upon, Mr. Shaw took steps to try and stand down the protest that had developed since the early morning. We’re happy that in terms of the protest, there was no incident, no kind of violence at all and in fact I think the roadways, the highways were cleared fairly quickly—even more quickly after Mr. Shaw signaled his willingness to cooperate—our agreeing in principle to a compromise. Now the outlines of that compromise, the essence of that compromise, was put this afternoon in a 1:30 meeting from which I just came, by me to the representatives of the northern bus owners. And I’m happy to report that they too are in agreement with what is being proposed.  The BBOC will not be required to operate only on the Northern Route, on the Belize City runs going north. But that in fact some of the earlier runs, some of the preexisting runs before the attempt of the reorganizations took place going west would be retained. It would mean then that not all of the proposed new runs for the BBOC going north will any longer be in play. In effect, we will try to divide up the thing as far as possible that the BBOC would not lose any of their runs except to the extent that everybody will perhaps lose runs as there is an effort to compress the thing and make it all together viable and feasible. So by and large, there would be this portioning of the BBOC’s block of runs between in fact the north and the west.”

Thomas Shaw

Thomas Shaw, President, Belizean Bus Association

“We had a meeting briefly with the Prime Minister at ten this morning; Mister Frazer and myself. Thereafter, I went back to my operators and basically, the outcome of the meeting that I held wit h the Prime Minister when I went back them, some of my operators are still not totally in agreement with the arrangement that Mister Frazer as the BBOC stating that he would try to compromise. The position with the operators from the west; that they wanted this operator, Chuc’s West Line to be removed immediately as I pointed out in the letter previously presented to the minister.”

Dean Barrow

“While I understand that Mr. Shaw, I hope that you will also understand that we left that meeting with an agreement as to the way forward and that is certainly how government means to proceed. We are greatly desirous of reaching a compromise but a compromise by definition cannot be sometihng that is dictated by either side. So I will invite you again to proceed as had been agreed with the negotiations that we scheduled for Monday.”

Roger Tun

Roger Tun, Chairman Northern Bus Operators

“We mentioned to them that we welcome them at the north. At this stage we cannot tell the BBOC that we don’t want to see them in the north—they have been operating there. Unlike if you turn around, you don’t see no northenos operating in the west. So we are very flexible. As much as I said we are on fire, or we are a district of fire, we believe in flexibility as well. And I stand to be corrected as well by the BBOC members—whether any northenos run in the west. We believe that at this stage, we are open to dialogue with them. I mention to Mister Frazer and Mister Shaw—Mister Menzies, I just got to know you today—Mister Frazer has been the one that has been heading any dialogue on behalf of BBOC. We mentioned as northenos that we are united. We believe in reform and most importantly, we believe that you cannot stop newcomers stopped to enter into any business. I was once a newcomer in the bus business. The BBOC was once a newcomer in the bus business. We all are newcomers to the business at some point in time, be it forty years fifty years you name it. However, we must accept the fact that we cannot stop no one to invest. So with that spirit of good, to have a hormonial relationship, I come and I say from the northenos stand point; we are prepared—Mister Shaw knows about it—we are  prepared to lend a helping hand to them.”

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