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Sep 2, 2019

Belize Bus Association won’t back down and is prepared to strike

Ewart Metzgen

There is heightened tension within the transportation industry where a final decision has not been reached on buses from Mexico and Guatemala that travel through Belize. The Belize Bus Association has devised a plan of action and is ready to put it in effect if the Ministry of Transport does not grant their requests come this Tuesday. The B.B.A. was assured that the foreign buses would only be allowed one run for the day but that decision has been delayed pending a meeting with tourism stakeholders. The B.B.A. met on Saturday to discuss the way forward after their meeting with government representatives was rescheduled from last Thursday to this Tuesday. All indications are that the B.B.A. will be holding industrial action but Secretary of the Belize Bus Association Ewart Metzgen says they are hoping it doesn’t have to reach that far.

Ewart Metzgen, Secretary, Belize Bus Association

“Our plan of action was put together and we now wait upon what will happen from the meeting tomorrow evening after we meet with the ministers in Belmopan.”

 

Dalila Ical

“The hope is however that some amicable solution is reached, or are you guys fixed on your request and if you do not get it then this plan of action is rolling?”

 

Ewart Metzgen

“Yes we have met and we have already agreed on what we wanted when we met with the AG and Ministers Panton and the Minister of Transport at our last meeting a couple days ago. And, we have no intentions on going back on what was agreed upon there. And, we were a bit surprised when we were told by the Minister of Transport that it was the Minister of Tourism that it was the BTB that has a problem with the paper that was presented to cabinet, because we had met with the minister, we had met with the folks from the BTB along with the ambassador from Belize to Guatemala Mr. Said Guerra and all that we needed to work out was worked out there. They said that they had no written agreement, there was nothing binding between the tourism sector and the Government of Belize with the Guatemalans. So, our problem was here at home with the Department of Transport. This is now the third time this meeting is being set with us. Previously, two weeks, Tuesday ago, it was supposed to be held. It was postponed until last week Thursday. Then we were all in Belmopan when we were told at the last minute that the meeting would not take place and that was really what stirred us to say, well, something is wrong here. We are being pushed around. We are being taken for fools. So that is when we called this emergency meeting that took place on Saturday and we put a plan in place and we plan to execute it and we hope that we don’t have to because really we don’t want to go through all that and to put our people, our Belizean people in a bit of stress or a bit of strain for however long we decide to sit out. But, the ball is in the hands of the minister right now. They, whatever happens and whatever takes place is on him, because we don’t want to go where we are planning to go and if we have to go there we will. We won’t back down. Another thing, we know that the security forces will be used against us and we are prepared for that but we have to stand up for what we believe in and for what is rightfully something that as Belizeans we should be able to have.”

 

There are thirty members in the B.B.A., including all major bus companies. Metzgen says they have also secured the support of other associations and unions.

 


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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