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Jul 31, 2001

Transport commissioner says he did his job

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While in Belmopan we also dropped in on Commissioner of Transport Glen Arthurs. The man at the centre of Monday’s storm–and object of much public criticism–says that the piece of paper he eventually signed was of no real consequence.

Glen Arthurs, Commissioner of Transport

“It was expired on the twenty-sixth of July 2001, and yesterday was the thirtieth of July. That paper did not have any value. The system in place with the Transport Department is we do not sign on old permits. People come here to Belmopan, and we make out new permits and we issue it. Signing that paper made no difference yesterday. When I learnt about 5:00 p.m. that all they wanted was my signature on the paper, I looked on it as a psychological solution to the problem at that time. It had no value.”

Ann-Marie Williams

“But Mr. Arthurs, you knew that all along, that they were asking for your signature on the paper and you told them move one bus, then move two busses, and then they just wanted the signature and you knew that all along.”

Glen Arthurs

“But what I am telling you know is that the signing of that paper, I knew, did not have anything to do with giving a permit or an extension to Tillett Bus Company.”

Ann-Marie Williams

“But in the end you still signed it.”

Glen Arthurs

“Because psychologically, they wanted me to sign. They were insisting that all they want me to do is sign it and they’ll move the bus.”

Ann-Marie Williams

“So you’re agreeing that if you had signed it at 1:00, 2:00 there would have been no riot.”

Glen Arthurs

“I don’t know. That’s a good question, because I believe that some of the people out there just wanted to have a bit of action. This morning, I had a meeting with the two bus companies concerned, Castillo Bus Service and Tillett Bus Service. They left from here feeling comfortable with the process that we plan to use in solving the problem. For me to investigate and to find out if what they are requesting is genuine, I need some time to get out on the ground with my people, monitor the busses to see if there is need for more busses in these villages. And then at a later date, which we have set for the fifteenth of August, we will sit and we will table their concerns, and let them if they’ll be getting and additional permits, or not.”

Arthurs says that in the meantime Tillett has been given a temporary permit to run from San Felipe Village to Belize City until August seventeenth, the same route which caused yesterday’s controversy. Castillo is requesting additional buses to operate from Progresso Village to Orange Walk Town. According to Arthurs, an August fifteenth meeting at the Ministry of Works in Belize City will determine whether their requests will be met.

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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