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Oct 27, 2011

Water Taxi Association cries foul play

The three thousand plus residents of San Pedro and Caye Caulker who left their homes for higher ground when Hurricane Rina threatened the coast returned home today. During evacuation, NEMO footed the bill for the boat rides on San Pedro Belize Express, Caye Caulker Water Taxi and the Belize Bus Owners Cooperative, which also ferried islanders to the Capital. But instead of the steady stream of passengers that were visible the past few days at both water taxi terminals, there were only a few people at Caye Caulker Water Taxi next to the swing bridge on North Front Street. It seems that they were dropped by NEMO in favor of their competition. Some of the regular customers paid to return on the boats that they are familiar with, but the water taxi association definitely lost business because they can’t compete with a free ride.

Luis Noble, Floor Manager, Caye Caulker Water Taxi

“We were running very well yesterday—all of our boats were coming in full, everybody was quite happy with our trips, everybody got their luggage—everybody was hundred percent satisfied. And they were looking forward to coming back with us for the return, but for whatever reason, everybody was going over that side, to San Pedro Express or whoever was taking them. Well some people who were customers, they decided that they were gonna stay with us and they purchased their tickets to get back to Caye Caulker and San Pedro.”

Jose Sanchez

Luis Noble

“You’ve been in operation for over two decades; you’ve brought in people during storms before, NEMO paid the trip coming in and going back. What happened with NEMO and Caye Caulker Water Taxi?”

Luis Noble

“That for certain I wouldn’t know. But my directive was that no agreement was made for the return trips only coming in so I just follow my directive.”

Jose Sanchez

“So the evacuees, even the ones that came in with Caye Caulker Water Taxi, they have to go to your competitor?”

Luis Noble

“Right. A lot of people came through this morning, but unfortunately some of them did go over there, but a lot of our customers did stay here and they paid their fares to get home.”

Jose Sanchez

“But would you say that it’s something that is fair in your opinion?”

Luis Noble

“I don’t think so. I figure that you know, you’re suppose to have your choice of carriers—like you have San Pedro Express, you have Caye Caulker Water Taxi. Maybe some like San Pedro, but then you have people that prefer us. We have big boats, everybody feels say.”

Jose Sanchez

“And if NEMO is footing the bill, you can’t compete with a free ride?”

Luis Noble

“Of course not; no one can no matter what business you are in.”

The Belize Coastguard was also ferrying islanders back to Caye Caulker, but that service was also done exclusively from the San Pedro Belize Express terminal.

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1 Response for “Water Taxi Association cries foul play”

  1. Truth says:

    I certainly believe a deal was made with these water Taxi’s with NEMO to evacuate residence off the island from the hurricane. A red flag was already made for quick evacuation all residence those who have the money and those who havent which was paid by Nemo. Now this guy is crying about foul play, if ur family live on the island and u got them off then u aint got nothing worry about especially to the other Belizeans who want to go to a safe place. U got no heart, business is business but not in the face of danger my brother, u have no heart, NEMO probably gave u an offer but ur offer was too steep, go and cry somewhere else….Foul play!!! are u for real, u should been a good samaritan during that time and charge less for those who took a ride with you, no wonder the country is in a stand still, its not ur fault, there are so many people that think like u…..No Love in Bze

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