City refuses to renew driver’s licenses if you owe the council

Streets in Belize City are being upgraded courtesy of the municipal bond that was successfully launched by the Belize City Council. But how will the council pay that debt?  Well, by encouraging residents to pay their taxes and fees. The revenue stream for City Hall will also benefit from the implementation of a garbage collection tax which will be attached as a separate fee added to water utility bills. But there are residents who are also behind on payments and Mayor Darrell Bradley says that services from City Hall could be suspended until a plan can be worked out. One city resident who celebrated his birthday on Thursday found out that he can no longer legally drive since he was not allowed to renew his license because of an outstanding bill which he says isn’t even his.

Elsworth Williams, Driving Without License

“My birthday is eighteenth of April. This morning I went to license authority to renew my driver’s license. When I reached there I was detailed to go to City Council because I owe property tax for one location of Louise Bevans and Jane Usher Boulevard, 4285 Jane Usher Boulevard; which I don’t acquire no more.”

Jose Sanchez

Elsworth Williams

“Who actually owns the property now?”

Elsworth Williams

“The property is owned by the government now, bot by Mister Williams no more.”

Jose Sanchez

“So the government wants to charge you tax for a property they own?”

Elsworth Williams

“Yes sir.”

Jose Sanchez

“But what was the situation?”

Elsworth Williams

“Well the situation is that government required that piece of land; they wanted it for Jane Usher Boulevard. I didn’t fight them. I tell them no problem, locate me to another area, fill my land and whatever needs to get done on it and I will deal with the rest.”

Jose Sanchez

“So you assumed when they bought the property that the taxes were dealt with?”

Elsworth Williams

“Exactly. That’s what they say. They say they have the proof of it. I went to license my car and they had to release it so I could have licensed the car before. But today, this morning, I went to renew my driver’s license, they told me I can’t get any license; I had to go to the City Council. I don’t owe any tax; taxes are already paid. They are saying that I owe four hundred and odd dollars. If I do owe, maybe it is about twenty dollars, eighteen something; that’s twenty dollars.”

Jose Sanchez

“Now that that day has passed, you have an expired driver’s license. Are you driving?”

Elsworth Williams

“Well what would I do. I got a car, I gotta drive, I gotta do business, I gotta work on my house; I gotta work. I gotta keep moving, I can’t stop driving. How I will get to work? How I will do my work?”

There have been complaints from others that the policy of non-renewal of licenses if you owe the council is causing many to be driving illegally. 

Channel 5