Ritchie’s Bus attorney reacts to being “boxed” out of the transport industry
Yesterday, we told you that the day after Ritchie’s Bus Service’s road service permit expired, its direct competitor, Floralia took up those same runs, which are services between Belize City and the Placencia Peninsula. We got a reaction from Floralia director, Marvin Vanzie about whether they are deliberately boxing out the traditional service providers. We also got a comment from Ritchie’s attorney, Orson Elrington. As we also told you, Ritchie’s has applied for leave to seek judicial review of the Transport board’s decision not to renew Ritchie’s contracts. The company contends that the board had no legal basis not to renew. Elrington says that his clients believe that boxing them out of the industry was the intention from the very beginning.
Orson “OJ” Elrington, Attorney at Law: “As I had indicated on the last occasion you know we live in a very small society so even when information is not communicated officially we get a lot of information unofficially. So we knew that that was the intention for Floralia to take up the runs. In fact we have learnt, and I think through the interview by non other than the director himself that Floralia knew that they would be able to take up the run even before Mr.Ritchie and even before the board itself in his public interview he indicated that somebody gave him the nod and told him that he should put in a letter of interest verifying that they knew and that the decision was made before any matter came before any board and even before Mr.Ritchie received any such notification from any entity.”
We also asked Elrington for a reaction on the duty waiver, which the Ministry of Finance granted Floralia in January 2022. He says that what makes this situation disadvantageous to his clients and other bus industry players is that they’ve been calling for these types of concessions all along and Government has ignored their cries.
Orson “OJ” Elrington, Attorney at Law: “The entire bus industry association ask not for individual members to be granted but for the entire bus industry so that everybody could have an equal playing field and so that all commuters could enjoy the benefits of such arrangements an that is what I think has been the bone of contention from the beginning. Not only have they gotten preferential treatment, not only have they bent the rules for Floralia but they have broken the rules and they have broken the law to facilitate Floralia and that is exactly the very bone of our contention, is the very basis upon which our application for judicial review is founded.”