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Sep 3, 2019

An SI Comes Into Effect to Regulate Mexican and Guatemalan Buses Entering Belize

Michael Peyrefitte

Industrial action by bus owners and taxi operators across the public transportation industry has been averted, following a late afternoon meeting with government officials in Belmopan. The sit-down began promptly at three o’clock at the NEMO Headquarters and the main item on the agenda for the Belize Bus Association was the issue of local runs being taken up by Mexican and Guatemalan bus operators to ferry tourists in and out of the country. Today’s meeting resulted in an agreement that brings into force a new Statutory Instrument on September fourth after several months of negotiations between the association and the Ministry of Transport. During that time other government departments, including the Ministry of Tourism and the Attorney General’s Office were also called to the table. But the process, at least for the Belize Bus Association, took longer than anticipated and its membership was growing wary with each postponed meeting. Today, they were out in numbers and after discussing for an hour and a half, all parties surfaced with content that an interim measure has been agreed upon to regulate the influx of foreign buses and the runs being operated in Belize. Attorney General Michael Peyrefitte provided details of the outcome.

 

Michael Peyrefitte, Attorney General

“Well the outcome was never in doubt, on August 7th when we met we agreed to what a new SI would contain. We just wanted the Bus Association and the Taxi Association to appreciate that when you solve one problem or please one sector of the public other sectors are affected as well. Immediately after the decision we made on August 7th there was starting to be some kickback from the Mexicans form the Guatemalans, it was already affecting the local tourism industry. We felt that it was important that whole we would not change our mind based on the agreement we had on August 7th. We want the Taxi and the Bus Association to appreciate that when you solve that problem it created other problems. The hotel association and the Ministry of Tourism had that opportunity today to express their concerns about the decisions we have made and what we have done through the SI for the Bus and taxi Association. We have explained to the Bus and Taxi Association that there will be a test period between now and October 8th to see the effects of the SI. If everything works out fine and it creates any problems that are manageable then we just proceed to deal with those. If it creates problems that we cannot fix or problems that are too big then we have all agreed that we will sit down and reassess the position that we have taken. Because at the end of the day, whatever affects one aspect of the tourism industry will affect every aspect of it. So reasonable heads prevailed today, the Hotel association, they are not happy but at the same time they are prepared to wait and see what will be the implementation of the SI for the next five weeks or so.”

 

Isani Cayetano

“As it stands, what is contained within the new SI?”

 

Michael Peyrefitte

“Well essentially, because we are a part of the Central American corridor, if a Mexican bus wants to go to Guatemala and just in transit through Belize, they will present a manifest at the Mexican Border. Transit through Belize, do not drop off any passengers, do not pick up any passengers and enter Guatemala with those same passengers. One bus will enter Belize form Mexico and go to the terminal in Belize City to bring people from Mexico to Belize. There will be one stop in Orange walk and the next stop will be in Belize City. But the only people that will be able to get on that bus are people who have tickets internationally.”


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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