Every so often there is some squabble at the Belmopan bus terminal regarding taxi operators and their parking spots. The latest problem has arisen because taxi operators not designated to the terminal feel they are being unnecessarily removed from the parking lot. Emanuel Pech has the story:
Emanuel Pech- Reporter at Plus TV
It is the Belmopan City Council’s duty to regulate taxi operators at the terminal to avoid overcrowding.
According to senior taxi operators, originally there was a list of 21 taxi men, designated to park at the Belmopan bus terminal; however, because some taxi-operators believed they had been unfairly excluded, ten more were selected by the Belmopan city Council, making it a list of 31 taxi men parked at the bus terminal.
According to the Belmopan City Traffic Department, those slots have already been filled.
Nevertheless, one taxi driver, Fausto Augustine, though he is not on the official list, still parks at the terminal.
Reporter Emanuel Pech: “How long have you been operating a taxi?”
Fausto Augustine: “It has been two years…just before retirement. I am a retired teacher. What happens is that just before the Venus Store and the terminal, there are supervision for six of them to be parked there. Then the others are parked on the other side (that’s when you come out going towards the Fire Station) I no see no space there for the others, but then, what I can tell you is that from what had gathered (those who I know, are on the list) there are people who are working and are no there. So, there is space. I tried to point this out to the traffic people at the City Hall when they went out there, and because I am so vocal, I feel that I am being targeted. I think this is the result of these tickets that I am getting. there is a sing that clearly sates “TAXI PARKING ONLY”. I feel that I have a green license plate, I drive a taxi in Belmopan and I cannot see that sign dictating anything else. So, I park there”.
Augustine received his first ticket on April 16th 2013 for prohibited parking and was charged a fine of $25. On January 2nd 2014, he received another ticket and was fined 25 dollars for prohibited parking and $50 for failure to produce his driver’s license.
He was then given three more tickets; one on January 15th, one on March 25th and one on April 4th; for each of these he was fined $25. On the 15th of May he received his 6th ticket where he was fined not $25 dollars but $50 for prohibited parking. In total he owes $150, notwithstanding the $5 daily increment added each day after 15 days of not paying.
Augustine says that all six tickets have scheduled court dates for when he is supposed to be summoned to court.
When he checked with the list of court hearings, his name was not on the list. However, Augustine must renew his vehicle license at the Belmopan City Council in June and he says he suspects that there will be more trouble with the Belmopan City Council.
According to him, if all else fails, he will be seeking legal advice.
We got in touch with the Belmopan City Traffic Department today and were informed by the Belmopan Traffic Manager John Kevin Jones that because the matter of tickets is based on a legal framework , it can be disputed in court.