The daily bus runs into Chetumal, Quintana Roo, Mexico are pretty much back to normal, except that the buses are now parking at the old ADO bus terminal off the Insurgentes Avenue. On Saturday, July 15, operators instructed drivers to not enter Mexico after Mexican authorities requested that they meet certain requirements, among them, that drivers obtain a Mexican issued driver’s license and that all buses be insured. They were also being relocated to the old ADO bus terminal. The stint however did not last long because by Monday more than half of at least ten operators were back in Chetumal and parking at the new space allocated for them. Then, some operators were saying that Mexican authorities had retracted their requirements. Today, we understand that is not the case. Press and Legal Affairs officer at the Mexican Embassy Hugo Juarez Carrillo explained that bus operators, and Mexican motorists alike, will eventually have to comply with the requirements.
HUGO JUAREZ CARRILLO
“What we know is that there is a grace period of three years that is going to finish next year where everybody that uses a federal Mexican road, and this is not a law for Belize this is a general law for everybody in the country, it’s a law of the land; everybody that uses a federal road will have to have a proper driver’s license and insurance. This is it, this is something that everybody has to comply with, everybody has to comply with. The decision to park the Belizean buses in the old terminal this was Chetumal local authority’s decision. Maybe they were accompanied by some federal and state authorities but this was a local decision, this was a public safety decision that was taken in this level of Government. Mexico has three different levels of government, the local one, the cities and municipalities, the state ones for example Yucatan and Campeche or Quintana Roo or Tabasco and the Federal one. We talk about the insurance and the driver’s license we are talking about Federal Law, this doesn’t have anything to do with the place where the Belizean buses have to park, this is different and this is going to be complied with in the future not now.”
Following the changes in the City, merchants in the Lazaro Cardenas where the buses had been parking for years are complaining. The local media in Chetumal is reporting that the businesses there have seen a significant drop in sales, up to seventy percent, according to some. Carrillo says while Belizeans did account for some sales there, the figures may be exaggerated.
HUGO JUAREZ CARRILLO
“Mainly because when you think about the number of Belizeans going to Mexico every single day I’ve heard that we are talking about 800 people going from Monday to Friday and around 1800 going Saturday and Sunday then okay that is a large number of people but you have to remember that when we talk about Chetumal we are talking about the City around 200,000 people living together and there is not that many markets in the City, then yes no doubt the sale to Belizeans is very important for Chetumal, its very important for the market. At the same time I see it very hard to really believe that the 70% of the sales of the market are going to Belizeans. Maybe I think that this is a lower freight, I believe that maybe they are not selling the same amount of products that they used to but they have a captive market and now they will have to compete with some other areas of the City and their marketing will have to be better. When you are aw government you have to balance two different things, you have to balance in one hand the legal profits that a trader can have and in the other hand you have to balance in this case the public safety.”
Carrillo adds that he does not think that the number of Belizeans entering Chetumal has decreased as a result of the changes.