FECTAB uses banners to “cuss” Carnival

This morning marked the first appearance of Carnival back at Belize’s shores since they cancelled all their calls to Belize two weeks ago due to their demand for lower prices and larger catamarans, and the Federation of Cruise Tourism Association Board, FECTAB, took the opportunity to go to the Fort Street Tourism Village in tour buses armed with banners aimed at transmitting to the cruise line exactly how they felt about their bullying ways. “Carnival, work with our Belizean tenders, or you know what to do, get the %@#& out!” read one banner.

About seventy persons, in support of FECTAB, were out at the zone this morning around 8:00, and they publicly displayed their message for about twenty-five minutes.   The buses were driven through the village and made a stop at Zone One, which is only a few feet away from the Mirab store.

It was neither a protest nor a demonstration, said president of FECTAB, Tom Greenwood, and founding member, Yhonnie Rosado, owner of Cavetubing.com.

Rosado told us, “We had some banners on our bus stating that if Carnival comes into our country that it does so with respect; we are standing up for the people and the country. We are tired of doing press conferences and many meetings, so we are walking now, the talking has stopped; we are walking the walk now”.

Greenwood also spoke to us and said, “What happened today is the next stage that we had said would happen at the last press conference, that we are done with press conferences unless there is a pressing issue that we need the nation to know quickly. We are now beginning a series of protests and it is beginning at the lowest possible level, for which we don’t need a permit, which is putting signs on our buses, telling Carnival to basically stop taking bread out of the mouths of our Belizeans. The next stage will be a protest, for which we will seek a permit.”

Amandala also spoke with the coordinator of the Belize Tourism Board’s Tourism Police, Nigel Martinez, who made an effort to advise FECTAB members on their “code of conduct” in the zoning area.

Martinez maintained that the display was a demonstration, and kept repeating the need for protocol to be followed in such a proceeding. “…You need to write a letter to the committee asking for permission to conduct these kinds of activities,” he said.

But the members of FECTAB appeared to be unswerving in their stance. “We are asking, one, for the ships to continue coming in; we are asking Carnival to stop its blackmailing tactics; they are badmouthing the daylights out of Belizeans outside the village; they tell them inside the village to buy a book tour inside and don’t come outside, because they’ll steal from you, this and that.,” explained Greenwood.