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Dec 3, 2012

FECTAB alleges Chukka engaged in property destruction

Tom Greenwood

It’s not the first time that the Federation of Cruise Tourism Association of Belize (FECTAB) has been in dispute with Chukka, the Jamaican owned tour operator who controls a big chunk of the local tourism industry. FECTAB recently went on record to condemn the construction of a rappelling platform on a cliff overlooking the Nohoch Che’en cave. This time, FECTAB has come to the media to speak on behalf of Tom Wilson, Chukka’s business partner. According to the FECTAB members, Chukka was ordered to remove its assets from Wilson’s property on the Coastal Highway, but Wilson’s property was allegedly damaged during the removal process.

 

Tom Greenwood, President, FECTAB

“I got a call from one of our executive members Mr. Yohhny Rosado and then a subsequent call from Mr. David Almendarez who is also another executive member of the cruise federation, and a very troubling thing in fact so troubling that I immediately came alive. I realized that this is really serious stuff. Apparently Mr. Rosado was heading west and he saw Mr. Tom Wilson of Backa Bush Operations at the police station in Hattieville so naturally we are all concerned. It has come to passed that some really terrible things has happened in the coastal road at eight miles where both Chukka Cove and Backa Bush had an operation called lost world canopy.”

 

Yohhny Rosado, FECTAB

Yohhny Rosado

“I meet the man 6am in the morning so I was like wow Tom what’s up. Yohhny I just come from my place on Coastal Road and apparently Chukka were suppose to move from his property on November 30. And they not only moved but they moved and they break left right and center. So he asked me to bring it up to the media.”

 

Jose Sanchez

“What is it that they allegedly broke?”

 

Yohhny Rosado

“There are equipment on a tourism place. There are bathroom facilities, chairs, and things that whenever you have tour operations you have some type of equipment which are the zip line equipment, the rock; whenever you do a zip line. They have zip lining and rappelling which is the same tour that they moved over to Jaguar Paw where we are fighting. So if you don’t move the rappelling and the zip line tings smoothly you are going to break up all the rocks so that you don’t put it back again. They break up all the rocks, the bathroom facilities. Everything that they practically couldn’t take with them they break it up. And so we are pretty upset because this is the same company that we have been fighting over and over and know they can actually go and fight with its own partner. So now we are denouncing it and calling upon it that this is the company that has been receiving awards. Am not sure if from the Royal Caribbean or from B.T.B,. that they are the best company in the region. This is the company that has us all punishing.”

 

David Almendarez

David Almendarez, FECTAB

“How can this company be carrying on like this and the silence is so deafening. We have raised the alarm so many times about the unjust way that we are being treated. Ever since we came to the media couple months ago to protest about so call rappelling. The punishments have come down from the higher authorities they punish us to go through terminal two. The same way the big buses, the same way the big MCI bus need to come through our passengers need to come through now. It’s like they are punishing our customers to book with us. What we are saying is that we are the natives we’re the Belizean.”

 

News Five spoke to Chukka’s Country Manager, Valerie Woods this afternoon. Woods denies that Chukka has damaged Wilson’s property and she says that the company continues to do business with Wilson at other properties that he owns. Woods also spoke about the constant attacks on her character, some of which had been made into posters that were tacked on posts.

 

Valerie Woods, Country Manager, Chukka

“Clearly these posters and other things vile attacks. Personal ones now being made against me because I am the face of this company and private investor in Belize. It’s what makes news because it draws out some attention but you know it’s just crazy ranting. Chukka and Chukka Belize has not interfered in other people’s business and we have no intentions of doing so.   As long as I am the country manager for the company, I will continue to do my best to make sure the company runs a professional, competent outfit with standards and that we remain committed to all our staff and that our guides, females and males of all ethnicities can remain confident that it is a solid company and they have a job.”

 

Jose Sanchez

“There was no court order?”

 

Valerie Woods

“This is a landlord tenant situation whereby the landlord and tenant came to a mutual agreement to end the lease. And we have, we signed an MOU saying that we would remove our assets and that’s what we did. We moved all of our assets. We closed on October thirty-first. and we had about a month to remove our assets and we did that and that ended on Friday.”

 

Jose Sanchez

“As the allegations were so many things were broken at that facility.”

 

Valerie Woods

“That is not true we removed all our assets, all the things that we removed is listed on our balance sheet.  I’m not sure how FECTAB got involved, I’m told by other media houses when they came that the landlord contacted them and asked that FECTAB be his spokesperson or words to that effect so I guess that’s how they got involved. Because you know anything that they can use to discredit Chukka they jump on.”

 

Jose Sanchez

“So nothing illegal was done from Chukka on Mr. Wilson’s property?”

 

Valerie Woods

“No, we have other lease arrangements with Mr. Wilson and from another location we continue to do that. But no nothing illegal was done. The property when Chukka got involved may years ago had nothing, absolutely nothing on it. Chukka invested in the road network there and pretty much all of the facilities that’s there. And what we did was remove all of our assets many of which and most of which will be utilized between other locations that we have.”

 

As we said, it’s not the first fight between FECTAB and Chukka and it surely won’t be the last.

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3 Responses for “FECTAB alleges Chukka engaged in property destruction”

  1. Storm says:

    It might have been smarter to offer to pay Chukka to leave the equipment, or to have people on hand to witness the removal process. Now it’s a liar’s contest, and the only sure thing is that it is bad for tourism in the Jewel.

    I don’t know who did wrong, if anyone — but if it turns out to be Chukka, a foreign-controlled company here by our grace, it should have its right to do business in the Jewel revoked. Who needs that kind of guest?

  2. Seletar says:

    I don’t know what kind of agreement Chukka had to rent the property, but most leases provide that if something is permanently attached to rented property, like a toilet, it becomes a fixture and part of the property, so it belongs from that point on to the property owner. In that case Chukka would have a legal problem. No matter what, Chukka’s conduct was primitive at best. Who breaks up another man’s property? You never hear such behavior from other tourism companies, but Chukka seems to think gangster-style. We’d do better if they just leave the Jewel, in my opinion.

  3. Avid Reader says:

    Some might look at it as immature of Chukka but I look at it this way. If I have my husband and we are together for so many years in a relationship and suddenly he finds a sweetheart and wants to kick me out for her to move in. Do you think I would leave that house with everything for her to enjoy the fruits of my labour?….HELL NO NO! What I cann’t take, I would chop and break up and stamp up. LOL! Just saying……..

    Ain’t no shame in the game…..business is business! A deal is a deal is a deal!

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