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Dec 21, 2020

Restrictions Threaten Jobs of Water Taxi Employees

Shameka Pennill

Since the COVID-19 pandemic in Belize, runs to and from San Pedro were stopped temporarily. When the lockdown was lifted for Ambergris Caye, traffic to the island resumed, but it is still not where it used to be. Runs have been cut by half and the company is working on a skeleton staff.  While the new S.I. is being reviewed by the management of the water taxi, Pennill fears that the new restrictions might see more employees terminated.


Shameka Pennill, Marketing Manager, San Pedro Belize Express

“Since the entire COVID-19 thing, we have seen a drastic decrease in customers so with this, it is going to get even worse. So in the long term it is very unsustainable to operate. We were operating with eight daily runs; we are down to five, so with this fifty percent—well the managers are still in discussion—but we are just looking at all ends. But it is definitely going to affect us, it’s going to affect our customers. We would like the governing bodies, when you make those discussions, include us so we can voice our opinions with the business because it is not looking good.  Are you guys going to subsidising for the other half; are you guys going to lower the fuel price to help combat what you are saying. So we would like to be included in the discussion to see how we can get help as well to function because we play a vital role in transferring from the island to mainland. So I think that we are a very essential part of the entire country.”


Duane Moody

“….not to mention the staff that you guys have.”


Shameka Pennill

“That’s another thing. We are already down to what we call a skeleton staff.  It’s like a hundred and odd all the way to…if we have thirty employees we are good. We are really down to a basic staff right now and cracking down more, then you would have more employees unemployed because we cannot maintain operating with the fifty percent and keeping all the employees on staff.”

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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