Timeshare SI to take effect January 1st 2008

The Island Newspaper, Ambergris Caye, Belize            Vol. 17, No. 48            December 13, 2007

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The Off Premise Contract Regulation is a Statutory Instrument (SI) which will be signed into law by the Minister of Tourism, Godfrey Smith, and will go into effect as of January 1st, 2008. This SI regulates OPC’s around the country and below find some of the points addressed in the SI. Bear in mind that the SI has not been signed and some of the points outlined may change. However, according to Registrar of Hotels and Accommodations Lloyd Enriquez, it is not expected that much will change.

    Some excerpts of the OPC SI are as follows:

    Subject to the provisions of these Regulations, any person desirous of operating as an off premises contact person in and within Belize from the commencement of these Regulations shall complete and submit an application form to the Board, through the Committee, together with [medical certificate, police record, recommendations letter and such]. All licenses shall be issued by the Board upon payment to the Board of a license fee of one hundred dollars by the applicant […]

    Duties of License Holders includes: It shall be the duty of all license holders under these regulations to […] prominently display upon their person a laminated copy of their license while performing their work. […] operate either from the developer’s place of business or from a booth authorized by the Registrar, with the approval of any trade licensing authority, […] distribute handbills, offers, timeshare documents and other material relating to the sale of timeshare rights from within ten feet of the booth authorized by the Registrar, […] inform purchasers that (i) any promised entertainment, prizes, gifts, food and drinks, games or other forms of inducement to execute the timeshare documents are offered for the purpose of advertising sales of timeshare rights in the timeshare accommodation of the developer; […] (iii) purchasers have cancellation rights as provided in section 20 of the Act. In addition to the duties specified in sub regulation (1), every license holder shall have an obligation- to promote and preserve the tourism industry in Belize; […] (j) to be hospitable and maintain good and courteous conduct towards purchasers at all times; […] (l)not to be under the influence of alcohol or controlled drugs or any other intoxicating substances while on duty.

    An off premises contact person commits a disciplinary offense who use any promotional material or device without fully disclosing to purchasers orally that the material or device is being used for the purpose of soliciting sales of timeshare rights (among others).

    Regulations of OPC Booths include: Every off premises contact person’s booth shall be located in a place approved by the Registrar after consultation with the developer and on the recommendation of the Committee; […] It shall be a disciplinary offence to operate an off premises contact person’s booth at a location which is not approved by the Registrar as provided in these Regulations; […]The Registrar may designate members of the Tourism Police and Inspectors appointed under the Hotels and Tourist Accommodation Act to issue violation tickets to any off premises contact person who contravenes this Part, and the violation tickets shall provide-a summary fine of one hundred dollars for the first contravention; a summary fine of two hundred dollars for the second contravention; a summary fine of three hundred dollars for the third contravention; disciplinary proceedings by the Committee for a fourth contravention.

    Additional disciplinary offenses are also highlighted and include: An off premises contact person who insults, abuses or harasses a purchaser, either through word or deed, as well as an person who operates, advertises, or holds himself out as an off premises contact person without first obtaining a license issued under these Regulations.

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