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May 21, 2020

FECTAB is a House Divided: Are Personal Interests Taking Lead?

For years, we have been covering the loud noises coming from the leaders of FECTAB, the Federation of Cruise Tourism Associations of Belize on all things related to tourism. But tonight, the news is about the association itself which finds itself a house divided. The situation began to unravel a few days ago, following a mini protest here on Coney Drive because most members did not know, nor were they in support of the demonstration.  Wednesday evening was a turning point when at a virtual meeting executive members threatened those who were not falling in line with FECTAB’s strategy. A press conference is now set for Friday, when a better picture will emerge. Here is Isani Cayetano.  


Isani Cayetano, Reporting

A rift within the Federation of Cruise Tourism Associations of Belize is deeply dividing its membership, as serious concerns are being raised that FECTAB’s executive is seemingly promoting its own agenda.  The basis of the disagreement stems from a failed protest last Thursday here on Coney Drive  Ahead of a press conference on May twenty-second, the executive is turning to its supporters but they seem to be torn on the issue of another cruise terminal being built in Belize City.


David Almendarez

Voice of: David Almendarez, Executive, FECTAB

“We are planning to have the press conference on Friday morning at the BIM complex and what we are asking the operators to do is to show up in their vehicles and we are going to line off the side of the streets and we are going to have the media interview you guys outside so you get a chance to express what you’re saying.  We just don’t want a lot of people in the room and they accuse us of trying to be disorderly or reckless with the law and anything else with a pandemic. Let me know.”


That’s from an initial recorded message posted by FECTAB executive David Almendarez to a Whatsapp group called Local Operators.  When that request was met with concerns pertaining to the purpose of the press conference, Almendarez lost his temper and became livid that other members of FECTAB would question the motive for the meeting.


Voice of: David Almendarez

“Nobody ask unu fu be wahn member of FECTAB.  If unu noh wahn be a member of we, unu please go and form unu own union.  Our fight weh we staat, three a we gaan da jail for it, weh paat unu mi deh when that staat?  Unu quick fi wahn criticize and seh, when we fight fi unu when unu mi gwein da Marion Jones unu mi willing fi go da Marion Jones.  Afta I get up, Yohhny get up and we meet with the mayor fu mek unu stay da Terminal One, but some ah unu grateful mada [bleep] wahn be ungrateful and talk bad bout us.  So if unu noh wahn be wahn part of us, unu please get di [bleep] outta di chat group or I could leave unu chat group caz I neva ask fu be wahn memba ah unu.  FECTAB da wahn organization weh we create and we mek it strong.  Fu meet with Michael Ashcroft da we design that, noh unu.  Fu meet with Mr. Feinstein, da we design that, noh none ah unu mada [bleep].  So if unu noh wahn be a part of us, feel free to get the [bleep] out too.  [bleep] unu fi di try dictate weh di fuck fi go aan and unu noh di put een no pound a flesh unu weak set a sorrowful mada [bleep].”


That thinly veiled snobbery on the part of Almendarez has prompted other members of FECTAB to look up the organization’s standings at the Companies Registry in Belmopan.  They have found out that FECTAB was registered on September 27th, 2010 by five principals, including Thomas Greenwood, Yohhny Rosado and Troy Gabb.  The other two principals have since distanced themselves from FECTAB.  Gabb, on the other hand, is presently the project coordinator for the Stake Bank Cruise Port.  It is believed that FECTAB’s executive is promoting a a certain agenda and that the membership is simply being taken along for a ride.


Delroy Herrera

Voice of: Delroy Herrera, Tour Operator

“David already mek it clear to we just a while ago that FECTAB is an ownership, not an organization.  It’s a federation owned by the three people dehn as weh he seh, so he noh give two scunt about weh we think.  Ih wahn support but ih noh have we at mind, so I think at this point it’s best that we come together as operators and tour guides and form an umbrella that will shelter us and protect us.  Simple as that bredda.”


In chiming in, Yohnny Rosado, one of FECTAB’s founding members, attempted to douse the flames by referring to the president’s role.  Of note, however, is that the research done at the Companies’ Registry today indicates that FECTAB, for the past ten years of its existence, has failed to file its articles of association, as well as the by-laws governing the organization.


Yohnny Rosado

Voice of: Yohnny Rosado, Executive, FECTAB

“That’s the reason Belize City doesn’t have any strong organization because as soon as we join together everyone pulls their own side and I just ask for the guys in the group to be patient.  Remember, we have a president you know.  Yohnny Rosado, David Almendarez, Niko nor no one not named the president Mr. Tom Greenwood and we only put on the chat that we have a press conference to let unu know in advance.  If we let unu know last minute dat da wahn problem, if we let unu know before da wahn problem.  The president is writing down the points and then he will revise it.  Da only three or four points, you know.  Why is it that the tour guides or tour operators are not getting help from B.T.B. or the government?  Dat da one of the points, you know.  Butu then it is set by the president, we only come up with ideas, you know, we have wahn president weh I cyant overthrow and one of the reasons FECTAB has been successful is because we don’t overthrow anyone.”


But neither has it held open elections to choose new leadership, a point also being raised by members who do not agree with the direction that FECTAB is taking. Reporting for News Five, I am Isani Cayetano.

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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