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Jun 7, 2011

Bus Owners no longer negotiating with Melvin Hulse, Minister of Transport

The embattled chairman of the Belize Bus Owners Association, who was accused of not consulting with his membership before accepting an offer on bus routes for the west, stepped out today. Claude Frazer, who remained under the radar in the aftermath of a countrywide transportation shutdown on May twenty-seventh, today joined forces to oppose the runs taken away from D and E Bus Line which were granted to other operators.  Today the Belize Bus Association met with its members and the media to give an update on discussion with government.  News Five’s Isani Cayetano was present and has the following report.

Isani Cayetano, Reporting

Negotiations to resolve the ongoing crisis within the public transportation industry continued today among members of the Belizean Bus Association.  You would recall that in the wake of industrial action taken by the BBOC to block the major highways on May twenty-seventh its chairman Claude Frazer was conspicuously absent from the press conferences that followed.  That, along with what was initially perceived to be an agreement struck with the Transport Department for runs in the Western Zone without first meeting with BBOC executives, prompted its membership to call for his removal.

Javier Vasquez

Javier Vasquez, Treasurer, BBOC (File: May 31st, 2011)

“The way the cooperative, us as the cooperative works is we elect the chairman for him to go to meetings for us and then after the meetings he should come back to us and inform us what took place in the meeting. But in this case he [Claude Frazer] went to the meeting and he accepted all that was given to him and he did not come back to us and say well “We have this. Do you agree or do you not agree?”

Frazer, who was present at today’s meeting, maintains that the BBOC is satisfied with the runs that they were given to operate in the west and notwithstanding objections from Vasquez he too was a signatory to the agreement.

Claude Frazer

Claude Frazer, Chairman, BBOC

“I don’t know what happened to Mr. Javier Vasquez because [uhm] at the meeting at Coastal Zone where we accepted the five [runs] from Benque to Belize and five from Belize to Benque, seven from Belize to Chetumal.  Mr. Javier Vasquez also put his signature to it so he signed to one thing and [then] going about saying that I’m making my own decision which was totally wrong, you understand me.  But as a leader you have to face all these things and that’s part of the game, it’s ok.”

While Frazer has made amends with the executive of the BBOC its umbrella organization, BBA, remains hard at work uniting the association to rally behind the removal of West Line from the transportation picture.

Thomas Shaw, President, BBA

Thomas Shaw

“I’m trying to get the three major operators in the west for them to be united: Mr. Castillo, Mr. Guerra, myself and the BBOC.  We’re trying to get everybody united because that is the only way we can go forward.”

Jules Vasquez, 7News

“Presumably that’s united against West Line?”

Thomas Shaw

“West Line, that’s out of the question.  Our objective or mine as the president it remains the same for us to really fix the situation is for West Line to be removed and all the existing operators go back where they actually started off.”

According to Shaw all attempts made to accommodate individual operators have come at the expense of runs being removed from the others.  Most recently D&E Bus Line has seen a number of its runs being taken away and given to other operators in the west.

Thomas Shaw

“We’re accepting Mr. Castillo even though he did not participate in our movement on Friday.  This is just to show the nation that it is not about politics because everybody knew that he supported the United Democratic Party okay.  And this is just to show them that as the president I am not here to victimize and to say no you’re a UDP or a PUP so you can’t come onboard it’s even getting worse.”

While those negotiations remain open there is still no clear solution to the transportation problem in sight. Reporting for News Five, I am Isani Cayetano.

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