Transport Minister Meets with Bus Operators; No Bus Strike
The Minister of Transport Rodwell Ferguson met with representatives of the Belize Bus Association today in Belmopan. The meeting comes after the BBA made two specific demands to the Ministry, giving Minister Ferguson 72 hours to satisfy their demands. One of the demands was for the Chairman of the Transport Board be fired! The second demand was to have a representative from the National Bank of Belize sit on the Transport Board. The latter demand will come to fruition. As for removing Sanchez from his position, that will be known in the next six months which is the length that he has been placed on probation. Coming out of the meeting, Minister Ferguson told reporters that the meeting was a success and outlined a plan for the future of the country’s transport industry.
Rodwell Ferguson, Minister of Transport: “Well it was a very successful meeting because never ever as the minister I will be against the operators. We were all in the same collaboration to figure how we can improve and upgrade the bus industry. So yesterday I went to the National Bank and spoke to Mr.Castillo and said let us have a meeting today to figure how we can come to terms and how we can provide some kind of financial support to the operators and so he agreed that he will continue with the E Wallet to also create a ticketing system that the bank collects all the funds if the agree to lend them a loan and then there will be a profit share at the end of the day. So everyday once you create a system the money should be collected the bank gets the percentage, they get their percentage and then we move on from there. James Bus line already has a ticketing system so it will be extended to all the bus lines across the country we agree that within six months we are going to only have two bus companies, two south, two north, two west.”
Reporter: Where does Floralia land in these ?
Rodwell Ferguson, Minister of Transport: “Two bus companies okay ? Two south, two north and two west and when those two bus companies are formed then they will run different directions so that will mitigate the issue on the highway, everybody should be friends and working together.”
Reporter: What happens to the other bus companies that exist now ?
Rodwell Ferguson, Minister of Transport: “They will be a part of those companies. So the west I think we’ll start the firs pilot because they’re almost going together and we have two companies running from the west running in different directions so there will be no competition.”
Reporter: So you’re saying that James and Shaw might merge into one company and run the same –
Rodwell Ferguson, Minister of Transport: “Not James and Shaw. James could be a company in the south and Floralia can be a company in the south and who is smaller want to join with them can join wit them.”
Reporter: So James won’t be coming west or north or to Belize City ?
Rodwell Ferguson, Minister of Transport: “No no I did not say that. They are going to form companies coming from PG to Belize but only two companies will be coming so if James reach Belize at midday Floralia will leave PG at seven o’clock in the morning. Because too many operators in the country. As a matter of fact the north has about fifty one operators, how are we going to control and mitigate so many operators ? So we’re saying there are two companies then they will determine how much bus you need to put on between their time so everybody should be able to get a seat on the bus.”
According to Minister Ferguson, the Chairman of the Transport Board will be given a chance to do better.
Rodwell Ferguson, Minister of Transport: “Alright I said it’s a negotiation and we are going to give the chairman six months provision if he doesn’t improve then we will have to ask him to leave but so far we have agreed that he’ll get six months as the chairman of the board.”
Reporter: So Mr.Shaw had said that he sits on the board but he was not privy to certain decisions that were made. What happened there ?
Rodwell Ferguson, Minister of Transport: “All of that has been ratified and going forward the board will be in harmony to work for the betterment of the bus industry.”
Reporter: So were there secret board meetings happening with one or two of the members ?
Rodwell Ferguson, Minister of Transport: “I don’t know about that because I don’t sit on the board.”
Reporter: But you were in some of those meetings ?
Rodwell Ferguson, Minister of Transport: “No I’ve never been in a board meeting unless they request me to go there.”
Reporter: But did you address it with the chief transport officer to find out what happened there ?
Rodwell Ferguson, Minister of Transport: “Yeah everything has been secured and been set. We are here in harmony for the betterment of the bus industry.”