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Twenty Five New Taxis – Really!

Twenty five new taxis? Really? Ours is a question. Twenty five new taxis! The public puts an exclamation and is raising eyebrows. We all recall that at one time there was a stop order, an injunction to bring any new vehicle to Isla Bonita for a period of six months. The motive was over saturation of vehicles and a traffic mess and tons of complaints by tourists especially, and the intention of the injunction was to keep La Isla Bonita as a tourist haven.

At the time of the ban there were obviously some complaints by a few taxi drivers who were desirous of importing one vehicle to San Pedro. It worked well for San Pedro and the mayor was complimented for his/her courage and wise decision. The regulatory decision at the time was in general for public and private vehicles. Occasionally a new vehicle would be leaked into the Island and it raised eyebrows on everyone. Somebody had received a special favor or somebody had passed some ‘gift’ under the table. When the injunction was lifted approvals for new vehicles was tight and one really had to literally remove his vehicle from the island to receive a permit to import another one. Isn’t it still so at the moment- that one has to ship out a vehicle from the island to be able to import one – a replacement it is called, and no new vehicles is entertained.  This is what is called a right decision for the right intention and everybody supports it.

However, now the news breaks out that our good Mayor has approved 25 brand new licenses to taxi applicants not only to have a license but also to bring in not one, not two nor three but 25 new vehicles to San Pedro.  Now this one has not only raised eyebrows but has raised the level of ‘bilirubina” or bile on the entire island. The existing taxi drivers are against it because already the competition on taxis is very high and they are not making ends meet.  Scores of private vehicle owners are up in arms remembering that they were forced to ship out their vehicles and now these 25 persons will, as simple as one signature, be able to bring in and flood San Pedro Town with vehicles. Resort owners and operators are saying: “What the What?”  Even past visitors from abroad are saying: “malo, muy malo…poor decision to create more traffic congestion on an already traffic congested community.”  The complaints and rejection of this unwise decision is rampant. Even parents of school children and students themselves are taken aback with this decision.

And while our good mayor has explained to the public that this is a pilot project that he wants to experiment on because the present taxi associations are misbehaved, he did not go to the public for consultation.  Is it too late? This and many other questions arise. Can the decision be reversed? Are the approved licenses already bringing in their weapons of Island destruction? Will people sit back and do nothing? Are other Belizeans going to apply for licenses and be treated equally as Belizeans?  What if 25 more apply and are rejected, is that equality and fairness and justice?  What about the rest of Belizeans who must take one out, will they still fall under that order?  Or will they be able to just bring in theirs and test whether there is any justice?  These are not rhetorical questions with obvious answers.  These are really tough questions that the public must answer and, most of all; our good Mayor is faced with after his release on the Good Morning San Pedro Show on Reef TV. This is a tough one for the Mayor and very few would like to be in his shoe. Unfortunately it is a Pandora’s Box opened by our good Mayor when in his good heart he proclaimed on one talk show that HE WILL NOT DENY a vehicular permit for a license to any Belizean. Now we are sure that there are hundreds of wolves, rather Belizeans, who are ready to go for the give-a-way. The final question is “To be or not to be?”  “To taxi or not to taxi?

Editor’s note:  This article was submitted as letter to editor, but I thought it to be very forceful that I chose to publish it, with approval of the writer, as a feature article.

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