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Dec 6, 2011

Vendor’s beef with Transport Ministry

John Castillo

In late 2009 the Ministry of Transport started renovations at the bus terminal in Dangriga and as the works progressed in 2010, vendors were prevented from selling their products inside the facility. According to restaurant owner, John Castillo, he was promised a stall by the Ministry of Transport. But Castillo came to our studios to make a public complaint because his business is failing miserably. Castillo claims he invested and has incurred considerable debt preparing for the stall. To add his to troubles, the stall was granted to another person and he has since been banned from selling inside the terminal and even though he has permission from bus operators, he is also being prohibited from selling his food on the buses. Castillo told News Five that he also has employees who need to be paid.

John Castillo, Owner, J&N’s Restaurant, Dangriga

“I then approached the prime minister for a spot in the terminal and he said that he would speak to the Minister of Transport, which he did because the Minister of Transport called me and said that the prime minister had spoken to him and I would be given a spot in the terminal. I then said to him, can I go ahead and make arrangements to move in and he said well as soon as the terminal is renovated because the Dangriga terminal is getting ready to be renovated and it won’t be one person within the terminal, it will be two so you for sure will get a spot along with somebody else. When I saw that the renovation of the terminal was soon to be completed, I then went ahead and made arrangements to collect extra stove and freezers from my creditors from my place. Low and behold, when I see someone else get the terminal. I never bothered because I was still given the opportunity to sell within the terminal, but as of a month and a half ago we were completely stopped from selling within the terminal. So I then went up on the highway to catch the bus with my tray to sell my food going into the terminal. Last week Monday, the terminal gateman stopped the bus to ask if I was in there. I was on the twelve o’clock bus that reached the terminal at twelve-ten and while on that bus the gateman said to the driver if I am on the bus I have to come off the bus before they open the gate. I then approached the terminal manager and he said you’re banned from the terminal, you can’t come eena di terminal. Yoh could ketch di bus outside ah di terminal and come off outside ah di terminal. I said well yoh di violate mi rights.

Since they had stopped us from selling in the terminal and I go in with my tray, if someone wants I say no I can’t sell in here and I take them outside or wait until I get on the bus and after the bus has moved off. But I have good relationships with the drivers. The drivers have been very protective of me in terms of giving me that help because they know the situation and the owners of the bus have never banned me. As a matter of fact, Thursday last week I was on a G-Line bus when we came out of the terminal the bus driver said bwai I can’t pick you up again because dehn wah give me ticket. Man, I have waited this long for a response and no response so now I just want to ask them please noh interfere with my rights. I have a right to live and the constitution of this country gives me a right to live. I am a Belizean and I provide employment for five families. I have people who are depending on my business and I just want to have a decent and honest way of living that I have been doing for the past few

years without any interference and if I have done anything wrong please let me know.”

Castillo says he has attempted to get answers from both the ministry and terminal management as to why he has been banned and why he didn’t get the booth. But since his calls have fallen on deaf ears, he is now considering legal action.

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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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9 Responses for “Vendor’s beef with Transport Ministry”

  1. Earl Grey says:

    PERFECT EXAMPLE OF CRONY CAPITALISM……prevalent in the (western) world.

  2. Griga says:

    It happened in Land Dept in Griga and now at the Transport,so sad.. when you are poor and trying to make an honest living the cut you down.

  3. Griga says:

    It happened in Land Dept in Griga and now at the Transport,so sad.. when you are poor and trying to make a honest living the cut you down.

  4. Bulba Martinez says:

    To Earl Grey, Karma is a bi–h my friend. He got a dose of his own medicine. There are 3 sides to a story. As much as I don’t see eye to eye with the Minister himself, he allowed this very same Vendor to cause eviction to a hard working hispanic Vendor to get the Stall he is now crying over. The hispanic guy was kicked out the Terminal because of this idiot and now he is being kicked in his a-s with the same shoe. God noh like ugly!!!

  5. Louisville,Ky says:

    This is just a typical case of that crab mentality that is so prevalent in Belize. Someone in authority feels like John is getting too far ahead and decides to slow him down.
    Here we have a Roots Belizean bold enough to invest in self employment and the employment of others and the powers that be, says, it ain’t happening.
    Yet we …itch and complain about all the lazy young people engaged in criminal activities walking around the place.
    For me this is personal because I was fatigued similiarly until I was too weak to fight and decided to migrate.
    John, my advice to you is to pursue every legal option at your disposal. No more laying down or going quietly into the night. Nothing against foreigners but I have seen too many of them come into the Country and a red carpet laid out for them, as our indigenous Belizeans bow and scrape just to make a decent living. Enough ah dat!!

  6. Betrayal says:

    John was a UDP councilor. Heartless UDP victimize its own party member. If they dont want to help their own, why wud they help anybody else?

  7. belizeanpride says:

    i’d rather have this guy sell in the terminal than have youths healthy as a stallion asking for a dollars as you step out of the bus terminals. how sad working people are restrained to earn a good living than letting the man earn his money honestly. it’s what we live daily in Belize with things like these happening anywhere.

  8. r says:

    d leaders of this country have no sense of leaders but of thieves……….the money that they are stealing will be on no use for them……………..corruption corruption and the poor people suffer

  9. Elgin Martinez says:

    I am in total agreement with Louisville,Ky,that been said why don’t our leader encourage our small business owners or give them some form of incentive to encourage other Belizeans to own their own business.

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