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Aug 2, 2019

Belize Bus Association says Foreign Owned Buses Taking Money Out of Their Pockets

The Belize Bus Association is not happy with the foreign bus runs happening in Belize. The B.B.A. wrote a letter to the Minister of Transport to say that its members are not in agreement with the buses crossing the border and picking up passengers. They say that this is taking money away from locals and it is something that shouldn’t be happening. Well, the association says that Transport Minister Edmond Castro hasn’t done anything to address the problem.  The first meeting was four months ago, and since then they have also met with Minister of Tourism Manuel Heredia. Following that meeting, it was agreed that a Statutory Instrument would be drafted and that the matter would be taken before Cabinet. But there has been no action since. The B.B.A. says that the way to fix the problem is to repeal a 2009 S.I. that gives access to foreign owned buses to make runs in Belize. The association’s secretary Ewart Metzgen told News Five today just how the foreign bus runs in Belize are affecting local operators.

 

Ewart Metzgen

Ewart Metzgen, Secretary, Belize Bus Association

“They were supposed to enter with a manifest and drop off in Belize City. I think it was to return back but now these people have set up shop and are selling tickets. Agents are all over our country selling tickets within Belize which should not happen. In that S.I. when it was put together it was supposed to be reciprocal. Our operators here were supposed to be able to do the same thing in Guatemala but from the get go.  Belizean operators or those in the tour industry will tell you that before that they could have gone in to Tikal and the different areas that tourist go to in Guatemala and that has stopped. If we want to do any sort of business in Guatemala, we have to be renting the buses in Guatemala. Our buses cant enter in there. So, what we are basically asking is, ok if we can’t go in there then they stop at our borders, our taxi operators will transport our people into Belize City where the local buses and from there the buses will take them through-out Belize.   It’s the ones coming into Belize City, going into the water taxi, going into the bus terminals – those are the ones we have a problem with. Because when they go to the water taxi, the taxi operators there don’t make any money. If those people come in from the cayes, they come to the water taxi, their taxi is there and they take them to the terminal and from there the local bus operators will take them wherever they want to go. During this time we have been meeting with them back and forth. The Minister agreed in principle to what we had asked for and now it seems like he is going back against what he was saying because now he says he wants the Linea Dorada, those big buses, to continue coming into Belize. And we are standing firm that we do not want them coming in. Stop at our borders. We are capable of taking it from there.   Looking at it, this affects more than twelve hundred operators when you combine both our buses and taxi operators together and in total, five thousand people, when you add in the families of these operators. So, it is big. It is affecting a lot of people.”


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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