The Federation of Cruise Tourism Associations of Belize, FECTAB, called a press conference this morning; the association lived up to its reputation bringing down brimstone and fire. Led by president Tom Greenwood, FECTAB is once again up in arms over changes that have been implemented at the Fort Street Tourism Village, prior to the start of the high season. At the press conference members of the organization expressed outrage for being relocated from Terminal Two and essentially shut out from the village. The move will now force visitors who have booked tours with independent operators to walk a distance to the Baron Bliss Lighthouse to board buses and taxis. Stakeholders, including independent tour and taxi operators, as well as hair braiders and vendors are being affected by the latest decision to have them displaced. According to FECTAB, the managements of FSTV and the Belize Tourism Board are ill-advised and the decision will result in bad reviews by visitors to Belize. This, says Yohhny Rosado, is another attempt at disbanding the organization.
Yohnny Rosado, Executive, FECTAB
“We have clogged up the system, I say we as the BTB, FSTV and us because I have my tour guides, Major Tom has his business with tour guides, David [Almendarez] has his tour guides, VIV [Tours], Extreme [Tours], all of us have our tour guides and where are we supposed to put them now? Right at the end of the FSTV which is Fort Street and at the end of North Front Street? So we are saying if you don’t do anything about it we’re going to be in major problems because then we’re going to get more bad name. And we hear rumors that some of the people inside the tourism village might even come out, so they might even get some of the guests that we the taxi guys, hair braiders and tour operators and tour guides outside. We are supposed to share this meat pie. We’re calling the authorities to please restrain from taking any taxi, hair braider, tour guide or tour operator without the consent of the president of each tour guide, taxi association or union. We have leaders, we have leaders, and before the police or BTB or FSTV have anything against us they should communicate with our presidents. So we are saying that it’s very simple for us to get angry on the job but call upon the tour guides, hair braiders, taxi and tour operators to remain calm because apparently the police have been sent upon us with a brutal force. We have seen one taxi guy taken already. We don’t want to see no more of the hardworking people that come early in the morning, we get up five o’clock, five-thirty in the morning to get ready so by the time six, six-thirty, seven o’clock we are ready, not expecting to get hit by no police. We are set to meet our guests through terminal one. So we are again asking FSTV to regulate themselves with Terminal One, Terminal Two, Terminal Three because what they are doing is a malicious act. They remove the tour operators from Terminal Two, setting us up at Terminal One and then lock up the door. We’re asking to change the rules because I don’t know who they are getting advice from but the rules that they have right now are going to create a lot of problem and then FECTAB is going to be in the media. We are here today because the beginning of the high season hasn’t started and the police are already taking some taxis, some tour guides and tour operators to the station to get charge for whatever bogus charges they want to put.”