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#409499 - 06/08/11 09:41 AM Bus Operators Still "Antsy"
Marty Online   happy
You may not have heard much about the bus dispute recently, but things aren't going too smoothly in that arena. That's because "D and E", the bus line out of the west - which gave up some runs to the BBOC last week - is unhappy about having to make those concessions. All this week we've been hearing rumors that now they plan to block the roads out west. It hasn't happened but that's probably because unlike the BBOC - they aren't members of the Belize Bus Association - and don't have members they can call upon.

And so today in Belize City, they engaged in talks with the BBA to see if they can join.

Meetings were held in the city - and two resolutions were broached: first to encourage the public to boycott Westline Bus, and, second for all operators to get back all runs from Westline. President of the BBA, Thomas Shaw told us more:

Thomas Andy Shaw - President, BBA
"I'm trying to get the three major operators in the west for them to be united,Mr. Castillo, Mr. Guerra, Myself and the BBOC we are trying to get everybody united because this is the only why we can move forward."

Jules Vasquez
"Presumably that's untied against Westline?"

Thomas Andy Shaw
"Westline, that's out of the question. Our objective is, as the president it remains the same for us to really fix the situation is for Westline to be removed and all the existing operators go back where they actually started off."

Isani Cayetano - News 5
"A week ago there was contention within BBOC and its membership, you had also alluded to the fact that Mr. Frazer had went behind their back to accept certain agreements, where do you stand now with regards to having him back at the head table with you?"

Thomas Andy Shaw
"President, BBA - Well this is the reason why i am here, I'm trying to get all parties involved, as for them not to repeat themselves again. This is my reason for being here today to make sure that when we leave for here we come out of this meeting with one understanding and that is for Westline to be removed and all existing operators go back to their original runs that they were doing in the past that's the only way it's going to work."

Isani Cayetano - News 5
"Mr. Shaw you mentioned earlier that you are now over-riding the minister of transport completely and now taking this matter to the Prime minister can you elaborate on that a bit for us?"

Thomas Andy Shaw
"Absolutely because in the past this is what actually got us here where we are at right now. I've been trying to work along with the minister but basically it's just not really working, it's not working period so I'm going to leave the branches now I'm going to the root, who what to get mad get mad. I think it's time for us to move forward."

At the end of the meeting D & E was accepted into the Belize Bus Association - which increases that operator's' leverage.

For context we note that the D and E runs which the BBOC got as its compensation were previously taken from the same BBOC and given to D & E.

We note also that the owners of D & E are known to be highly pro-UDP.

And while the foment continues to bubble for bus operators, the Ministry of transport this evening announced that it had made a major breakthrough.

A release says that a meeting was held with 13 of 16 bus operators who run along the Northern Highway to discuss a revised schedule that would fit in the BBOC.

The proposal was that T-Line, Albion, Chell's, Rene Tillett, Valdemar Perez, Aron Kerr, and Michael Frazer would operate from Belize City to Orange Walk and back; Michael Frazer, Omar Tillett, Chell's, Ricardo Uk, Joshua Foundation, and T-Line would operate from Orange Walk to Santa Elena and back; Omar Tillett, T-Line, Albion, BBOC, Cabrera's, Morales, Valencia, Amelio Tillett, and Gilharry's would operate from Belize City to Santa Elena and back.

And, at the end of it, the release says, an amicable agreement was reached and the new schedule would be implemented on June 19, 2011.

Channel 7

#409500 - 06/08/11 09:43 AM Re: Bus Operators Still "Antsy" [Re: Marty]
Marty Online   happy

Bus operators from the North, South and West converged at a follow up meeting this morning at the Civic Center with the Belizean Bus Association, the body which represents a majority of bus operators. President of the BBA, Thomas Shaw reiterated his position for all members to unite to find a way forward that will be benefit all members. There were two resolutions that were presented for public support, one of which is to boycott the Westline Bus Company which is operated by Sergio Chuc. Attorney Lisa Shoman was on hand to give legal advice to the operators on a way forward.

Lisa Shoman – Attorney
“There is absolutely no reason why any foreign bus company or any other company from any other country should come in and run transportation in Belize. As some of you already know I have been involved in the issue of bus and bus licences and motor vehicle and road traffic regulations since 2008. This has its genesis in the issuance by the Minister of his zoning policy. It has become increasingly clear that the Minster has usurped and will continue to usurp or take over the responsibilities of the Transport Board. The Transport Board is the only body under law which is mandated by law, by the laws of Belize which have not yet been changed in order to issue transport licenses for busses. The present Transport Board is acting merely as the Minister’s rubber stamp. What is occurring is that they are not following regulation 207 and 208 of the MRVT regulations. 207 has to do with the conditions under which licenses are granted and it is a long list of things. 208 has to do with how you cancel, revoke or suspend licenses; the procedure under that is not being followed. I think it is up to bus owners whether you are going to continue down the path in which the Minister and the Ministry are the ones who dictate what the Transport Board does or do not do. You have rights under the law. You were promised by a government that you would be issued with licenses and on the strength of that you went out and made financial commitments; that means that you have a legitimate expectation to have your licenses and legitimate expectation is an enforceable right in the law. It is really up to you how far you wish to go with this. I know that there are a lot of people who have little or no faith in the legal system but if Belize is going to continue to be a country ruled by the rule of law and not by the whims of any administration then it has to be up to you, the bus owners ultimately as citizens to make the decision.”

Northern Bus operators met with Ministry officials this afternoon but President of the Belizean Bus Owners Association Thomas Shaw was not allowed in the meeting.


#409575 - 06/09/11 09:13 AM Re: Bus Operators Still "Antsy" [Re: Marty]
Marty Online   happy

Firm on transport, P.M. says G.O.B. sticking to deal with bus operators

And after clearly dismissing the squatters by calling them fraudsters, the P.M. moved onto the next hot button issue. The transport industry has been going through several changes as the bus associations have been dealt several changes to the routes assigned to them by the Ministry of Transport. When the roads were being blocked and tires were burnt on both the Northern and Western Highways, the Prime Minister stepped in and began negotiations. Though at least one bus association is still unsatisfied, the Prime Minister says, that a deal was brokered two weeks ago and the government will keep to that commitment.

Dean Barrow

“In terms of the bus controversy; government is satisfied that the solution reached with the BBOC and the BBA two Saturdays ago is a fair and just solution. That is a solution that is being implemented; that is a solution we will continue to implement. Now, there is certainly one bus owner who runs in the west of the country that is dissatisfied. The lone operator who is still not satisfied and who may draw some support from others, the lone operator is always free to talk to us. Government has a duty to remain open. In fact, I believe that the area representative from the district from which that operator hails was making an effort even today to try to have a dialogue with the operator. But I want to be absolutely clear that this talk that we must revert to the status quo, this talk that government must now remove every last run, given to Westlline, Mr. Chuc’s outfit is going to go nowhere. That is not going to happen. We reached a solution with all concerned including Mr. Chuc. It was pronounced a fair solution—not just by the government—but by all parties at the time. You can’t keep going back and asking us to revisit an agreement that has already been inked. You can’t keep moving the goal post. Government must be flexible, government must try to accommodate, but ultimately government must govern. And so, we are going to proceed. Of course, you would have heard on the news that the northern bus owners—and I believe they don’t except for one or two belong to the BBA; they’ve found their own association—have again reached a complete agreement with the government with respect to the entire north of the country.”

Following the Prime Minister’s Press Conference, the Belize Bus Association released copies of a letter it wrote on Tuesday to the Chairman of the Transport Board, John Flowers. BBS is still making three demands; the removal of West Line from the current Western Zone schedule and the return of other bus operators to their original routes, a two year permit for Chells, Venus and Cabrera’s bus lines in the north and that a representative from the BBA be seated on the Transport Board. The BBA is also demanding a response by Friday.

Channel 5

Barrow To Busses: No Concession On Westline

And weighing in on the other very topical issue - the PM outlined government's position on the bus dispute. As you heard last night, the Belize bus association has reverted to its original position; that it wants Westline busses off the road, and the status quo restored to what it was before May 21st.

The Prime Minister said they are open to communication, but not to negotiation on that issue:

Prime Minister Dean Barrow "This talk that we must revert to the status quo, this talk that Government must now remove every last run given to Westline - is that what it's called, Mr. Chuc's outfit - is going to go nowhere. That is not going to happen. We reached a solution with all concerned, including Mr. Chuc. It was pronounced a fair solution, not just by the Government, but by all the parties at the time. You can't keep going back and asking us to revist an agreement that has already been inked. You can't keep moving the goal posts. Government must be flexible; Government must try to accommodate, but ultimately, Government must govern."

And while government governs, judging from a letter sent by Bus Association President Thomas Shaw to the chairman of the Transport Board John Flowers today, the BBA will continue to agitate against Westline.

The letter re-iterates the demand for Westline to be moved and that in the north, that the runs for Chell's. Venus and Cabrera's should not be tampered with and that a member of the Bus Association should be given a seat on the transport board.

It closes by demanding a response by this week Friday.

Channel 7

Edited by Marty (06/09/11 09:19 AM)


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