Jul 17, 2008
The Caye Caulker Water Taxi Association today held a protest against the
establishment of a new water taxi association on North Front Street. The
concerns came from the land taxi operators, the water taxi operators and
even the fishermen that have their boats docked immediately behind the
CommercialCenter. We spoke to Hector Alpuche, General Manager of the Caye
Caulker water Taxi Association and Ramon Reyes Junior who is the President
of the Water Taxi Association.

Hector Alpuche, General Manager, Caye Caulker Water Taxi Association

“Most of all the concerns is all the congestion that will happen here on
land right. They are soliciting for customers and it will cause a big black
eye on the tourism industry. That’s what, we have lived this before when we
were out by the gas station and we don’t want to live that again here. We
have lobbied the ministers and the Prime Minister, we have sent letters to
them requesting and audience and we have not had any response from most of
the letters that we sent out to them and we need them. So we believe that
by having a little demonstration here or something that we mean business
and they need to come out here and hear us at least. We welcome competition
but why we say not here is because the place is already congested. We have
problems with the land, we have problems with the vehicles here and we have
problems in the river. They are trying to streamline them right now but
that is only to facilitate them. We definitely believe that this has
ministerial involvement in it and we want that to stop and we need them to
listen to us”.

Ramon Reyes Junior, Caye Caulker Water Taxi Association

“The major concern that we have is exactly what will happen out here; the
congestion and so on already started to happen when they started operating
illegally on July 5th. They were starting to send the guys over pulling the
tourist bags, attacking them in the buses when they arrive telling them,
come over here, come over here, that is our concern, our concern is not
competition. We do not fear competition; we have Triple J who competes with
us on a daily basis and have been doing so for years so that is not our
problem. Our problem is exactly what will happen. And we feel very very
disappointed in out Tourism Minister who grant them and allow them to
operate next to us because his nephew is a part of that which will cause a
problem now in tourism. He is the minister in charge of BTB and that is
going to affect tourism horribly, it is going to give a black eye to it and
we don’t want that. We just want to operate our business, we have land taxi
operators and we have over 120 people gainfully employed by this

The operators of Triple Jay water taxi are also concerned about the new
company and the streamlining of the fishermen’s boats that would extend in
front of their docks when all the boats come in. Jason and Joe Marin are
the owners of Triple Jay.

Joe Marin, Owner, Triple J Water Taxi

“We are in this business for one common goal, you understand me, we are
competitors yes but we are not enemies or so we join together for one
common good, so we have to cooperate for the common good and that is why we
have to join together to support them because we have realize out here is
congested already. We do not have a problem with the competition from over
there because competition ok but it’s too near to this area because of too
much congestion.”

Jason Marin, Triple J Water Taxi

“We are right at the entrance of the bottle neck. What happen when they
move the sailboats, because as is without these fellows out here when the
sailors come in with their products they even park in front of our pier and
we try to work with them right because everybody is trying to make a
living. But with this they are moving them and making them three a breast,
this is rubbish. By our pier, directly in front of our pier because our
boats are diesel and they are in and out having a small channel there but
on the immediate side it’s only a foot of water.”

Joe Marin, Owner, Triple J Water Taxi

“On both sides, the side by the Bliss Institute is very shallow, it’s about
a foot of water and coming on this side also the water is very shallow.
What happens is the bottom line the river would need to be dredged.”

The Belize Ports Authority was seen this morning still moving the
fishermen. The fishermen were also concern that their boats are being
pushed to a side of the river that has broken conch shells at the bottom
which would damage their boats or make it hard for them to come out of the
area when the tide is low. We tried getting comments from the owners of the
Belize Water Taxi Association but we were told that they have no comment at
this time. However we understand that they are operating from the Brown
sugar Pier and will start operating from their north front street dock
tomorrow. Love News understands that the Belize Water Taxi Association has
been granted a one year permit to operate their terminal in the area after
being denied when they originally applied. We attempted to get comments
from Minister of tourism Manuel Heredia Junior but were unable to do so up
to news time.

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