Tour Guides hold General Meeting

The Island Newspaper, Ambergris Caye, Belize            Vol. 9, No. 45            November 25, 1999

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At a recent San Pedro Tour Guide general meeting, several key issues were raised concerning the waters surrounding Ambergris Caye. Information was provided by Mr. Roberto Bradley of the San Pedro Tour Guide Association (SPTGA) office.

    Mr. Daniel Guerrero talked about the laws being enforced by the Belize Port Authority (BPA). He warned members that BPA will be requesting all boats to have Third Party Risk Insurance and proper lighting installed on their boats for running at night. Another of the main concerns was the No-Wake Zone not being respected. Buoys placed in front of the piers will soon be anchored and notice boards installed at all dive shops to warn tourists and locals about not swimming beyond the No-Wake Buoys. A reminder went out to members that the entire river is a No-Wake Zone and this rule is not being respected by most of the members. A message from Commissioner Watts of the Belize Port Authority was passed down to members that boats from Port Authority will be patrolling the waters of Belize more frequently now.

    In other business, it was brought to the members' attention that Vice-President of the SPTGA, Mr. John Forman, had submitted to the committee his letter of resignation.  Based on this information, an election for the position was held during the meeting. A passage from the SPTGA Constitution concerning Nominations and Elections was read and stated, "All members of the Managing Committee must be over ten years as members of the Association to be elected into office." Before the election, Mr. Omar Arceo proposed that the post be filled by a member nominated for the position from the last Annual General Meeting. Mr. Giovanni Marin and Mr. Gerald Leslie were the two members nominated and, as a result of the absence of Mr. Leslie, it came to a decision that Mr. Marin fill the post of Vice-President.

     Invited guests of Bacalar Chico National Park/Marine Reserve presented their Eco-tour Project. Mr. Victor Alegria and Mr. Isaias Majil presented SPTGA members with a brief overview of all the sites that can be visited, activities and tours that can be enjoyed while at Bacalar Chico.

    Mr. Phillip Leslie presented the concern about shark diving in the Blue Hole. The SPTGA has been asked to write a letter to the Audubon Society stating the concerns of the guides. It came to decision that a survey be conducted including all dive shops and dive masters concerning this issue and based on the answers received, the SPTGA will write the letter.

    Mr. Leslie also gave a report on how the SLACKCHWE Reef Ball Enhancement Project is going, up-to-date. He commented that the SPTGA is not getting the support of its members on building these Reef Balls. A proposal was submitted that members not able to help out with the mixing because of an inability to carry heavy things can help by donating $20.00 to pay someone who is able to help out.  

    Mr. Omar Arceo brought up the issue of license holders. It was stressed that the Committee members not sign any recommendation letter for any tour guide who violates the Association's Constitution or by-laws by inducing or encouraging foreigners to bring in boats or any water sports equipment, operating in and from San Pedro Town, that would affect directly and indirectly the business and livelihood of the other members. It was stated they shall be punished by the following disciplinary action by the Managing Committee: a) suspension of membership or (b) termination of membership.

    Regarding funds, a financial report was read by Treasurer Norman Eiley. The San Pedro Credit Union was then given the opportunity to present the benefits and advantages that a credit union has over the banks and how to start an account in it.
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