CitCo to resolve taxi situation on Albert Street

vlcsnap-2013-08-29-10h34m25s207Last week we brought you the story of the taxi operators at Albert Street in front of the Battlefield Park where their allotted spaces have been redistributed. Spaces have been given on Orange and Church Street but the total amount of spaces on Albert Street has been cut in half. This morning Police were in the area in numbers. While Mayor Darrell Bradley says he cannot order them out, he is aware of the situation and will be meeting with the operators.

Darrell Bradley – Mayor of Belize City: 

vlcsnap-2013-08-29-10h32m09s109vlcsnap-2013-08-29-10h31m25s181I got a briefing yesterday evening that there were some overtures, indicating that there may be some kind of disturbance in that area, because of some of the works that we are doing in that area.  I have had a very good relationship with Mr Skeen.  We had one very productive meeting previously, and we had a meeting that was scheduled for Monday. I had to change it because we had the mayor of Chetumal coming in.  We would likely meet before the close of this week to iron out some of their issues.  He had identified to me in terms of  the special needs of their members, members of that association.  For example, he pinpointed the fact that in terms of the painting of the lines, because of the angle that the lines were painted they cut down the space by three parking spots.  Those are things that we could discuss and we could work out.  So we have that pending meeting.   I don’t know of what situations would have occurred this morning but if the police went out there, it must have been a result of information that they would have received.

The Mayor says final arrangements have not yet been made.

Darrell Bradley – Mayor of Belize City: 

vlcsnap-2013-08-29-11h12m05s7vlcsnap-2013-08-29-10h39m56s164In terms of briefing us, the taxi persons had expressed dissatisfaction because admittedly if you have 13 spots and that’s cut down then there would be some concern.  I indicated to them the renovation of these parks and these public institutions are for the benefit of members of the community, and everyone has to be incorporated, including them.  We also have concerns from the people who used to sell hot-dogs in the park, and we’re trying to see how we could incorporate them also.  But again, that area is shared usage.  We have a lot of concerns from members of the business community who are also coming to us, and they’re also saying ’We want parking spaces.’  Members of different vendors are coming to us and saying they want their issues and concerns [addressed]. So what we have to do is that we have to balance everything in the development to ensure that we give every single person and group a fair share.  That’s what we mean to do with the Taxi Association, and I think that a lot of the issues will be worked out when we have our meeting.

It is a symptom, the Mayor says, of a larger problem in the downtown.

Darrell Bradley – Mayor of Belize City: 

vlcsnap-2013-08-29-10h56m02s67I can’t give instructions for Police Officers to go out anywhere.  I do know that yesterday evening I received a briefing that there may have been some disturbances, and I think that those police officers would have gone out there as a deterrent, to make sure that whatever is going on accords with the law, and that people are not being unruly.  The renovation of that Park requires a lot of work.  For example, we’re dealing with the homeless situation in there.  We have a system of monitoring, including putting Park Wardens.  I’ve been briefed that the homeless situation is much better.  We don’t people sleeping in the Park, and we don’t have people damaging the Park.  We have people using the Park a lot now.  I have indicated both in our meeting with the Taxi Association and on the media, that we have to recognize the right that the taxi men have to use that space, but their right also has to be balanced with the use of other people 

Albert Street Union President Steven Skeen has declined comment, pending the outcome of the meeting.

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