They say that they expect that our security forces will be used against them
BELIZE CITY, Mon. Sept. 2, 2019– The Belize Bus Association is up in arms to protect its turf from the foreign competition of Mexican and Guatemalan bus companies that appear to have gotten a foothold in the local transportation industry.
The local bus companies want to limit the foreign competition coming from the Mexican and Guatemalan bus companies that have been bringing passengers to Belize by requiring that these foreign buses leave their passengers at the border, from where they can be picked up by local buses and taxis and then transported to their destinations in and around the country.
Government has not yet agreed to go that route, and a meeting between the Ministry of Transport officials and the Belize Bus Association is scheduled for tomorrow in Belmopan at the National Emergency Management Organization (NEMO) building.
The Belize Bus Association is of the view that they are being taken advantage of and their profits are being siphoned off if the government continues to allow the foreign bus companies to compete with them in their own backyard, so to speak.
To ensure that the competition is kept at bay, the Belize Bus Association has mapped out a plan of action that could see the entire national transportation system grind to a halt if government fails to see eye-to-eye with them.
Government had scheduled a meeting with the Belize Bus Association last Thursday, but that meeting was rescheduled to tomorrow, Tuesday.
Government had assured the Belize Bus Association that the foreign bus companies would only be allowed one run for the day. That decision, however, has not been finalized, because it is awaiting approval from tourism stakeholders.
Ewart Metzgen, the Secretary of the Belize Bus Association, told News5 today that they are hoping that things will be worked out with government officials and that they don’t have to implement the industrial action that they have planned.
Metzgen said that the association has no intention of turning back from its proposal and insisted that their problem is here at home. Two weeks ago, the meeting with government officials from the Ministry of Transport and the Ministry of Tourism was scheduled to be held, but it was not held. Metzgen said that they were all in Belmopan on Thursday expecting that the meeting would have been held, when they were told that the meeting was postponed again.
Metzgen said that they were being pushed around and taken for fools, and that led them to hold an emergency meeting last Saturday, when the industrial action proposal was put forward.
“We hope we don’t have to go through all that and put our Belizean people in a bit of stress. But the ball is in the hands of the Minister right now. Whatever takes place is on him, cause we don’t plan on going where we are planning to go, but if we have to go there, we will. We won’t back down, and another thing, we know that the security forces will be used against us and we are prepared for that, because we have to stand up for what we believe in, and for something that is Belizean, we should be able to have,” Metzgen said.
All the major bus companies are members of the Belize Bus Association, which has a membership of thirty.