Benque Mayor says ambulance not confiscated, but in Peten for repairs
On Monday, we reported that Benque Viejo del Carmen and surrounding villages have been without an ambulance for the past several months. While it was initially rumored that the vehicle has been confiscated in neighboring Guatemala, the Benque Viejo Town Council, which is responsible for providing the service, says that the ambulance was simply towed to Peten for mechanical repairs last November. That is, says Mayor Miguel Velasquez, after exhausting all efforts to have the vehicle repaired in Belize.
Via Phone: Miguel Velasquez, Mayor, Benque Viejo del Carmen
“The ambulance which is under the care of the Benque Viejo Town Council has been servicing not only the community of Benque but it has also been assisting the San Ignacio Hospital and even the Belmopan Hospital. That was already about two years ago. Now what happened was that in late-November of last year, 2013, we were having some mechanical problems in the transmission and therefore the Benque Viejo Town Council was obliged to stop its runs and tow it to a mechanic shop. We took it to a mechanic shop in the Cayo District and being that it is a semiautomatic and one of the latest Italian model which is a Fiat 2010. The mechanic couldn’t find exactly what the problem was so we got some information from a mechanic in the Peten area that he would probably assist us with the repairs of the ambulance. We actually towed the ambulance to the Peten area and the mechanic in the Peten area, he brought down the transmission and he found the part that is needed in order to do the repairs; however, because of the necessary part, we could not get it anywhere close by in Guatemala we had to order it through an agency in Guatemala City. And that’s what has been taking a little bit long in getting that part that’s needed for the repairs to be completed. When we had the ambulance, the ambulance assisted the San Ignacio and even the Belmopan area, now presently what we are doing is working along with the San Ignacio Hospital so if we have any emergency they send over the ambulance from San Ignacio to assist us here in Benque Viejo. That’s the way we have been working, we have a very good communication with the San Ignacio Hospital and the same way that we assisted them now they are assisting us in that same manner.”
The ambulance was donated to the residents of Benque Viejo by the Italian government and is managed by the local town council.