The Belize City Council is, for the first time, signing a memorandum of understanding with taxi operators in the city. The MOU along with three other initiatives of the council, were presented today in a press conference. Mayor Darrell Bradley says the initiatives presented today are all in an effort to improve the quality of transportation services in Belize City.
“Part of what the city council has been doing is trying to promote Belize City as an economic hub. You would have heard previously that we mentioned the CARILED program the Caribbean Local Economic Development Program, we set up a local economic development unit we are trying to deal with ease of business protocols to make it easier for persons to operate a business within Belize City; we are dealing with trade license reform, we are dealing with e governance so again councilor Pitts was able to ensure that certain services people could get online and many of the things that we are unveiling this afternoon comes in that same spirit, that of promoting a city that is teaming with economic and social opportunities for our residents.”
The first presentation was the MOU. Present for this were taxi operators from Dalla Van taxi Association, First Stop, Belizean Taxi, Belcan Taxi, Archie’s Taxi Association and MCC Taxi Cooperative Society Limited. Leading the initiative is Councilor Bernard Pitts who elaborated on the terms in the MOU.
“The aim of this memorandum is to create quality network partnerships between the Belize City Council and the taxi operators and we want to improve the works, we want to improve the service delivery. We have discussed extensively for more than a year, almost a year and a half and between ourselves and the taxi operators we’ve agreed to a service fee which is $20 per member per month. Every single taxi organization that is in this room presently has agreed and are willing to sign on to this agreement. We also have in place in this MOU a designated area for each association or union or cooperative. Just let me make it clear here that all those areas will be gazetted in order for us to have full enforcement so it means then that your space will be your space wherever you are designated to be except for dollar vans who are on the continuous go. The Belize City Council will assist with economic development of their taxi operation by way of promoting their taxis and assisting in best prices for their services pertaining to the logo design, printing the logo for doors, t shirts and polo shirts.”
At least seventeen groups are signing the MOU with the Council, with the exception of one group that is dealing with some internal matters. The document, says Mayor Bradley, is a legally binding agreement between the City Council, taxi operators and Associations that will improve the working relationship between both entities.
“When we regularize all of the taxi unions everyone signs an MOU, everyone’s space is gazetted then that will give you the power to hold the city council accountable in a legal sense to police your space. Currently that cannot be because I am made to understand that no taxi union has an agreement with the council so that what we do is that we try to deal with it in a kind of informal or ad hoc way. If by signing this memorandum now we have the legal authority to work among taxi operators and try to work out whatever issues but we are committing in this MOU that we will give the resources for the enforcement.”
The actual signing will be completed within a week with the executive membership of each group.