The City of Belmopan will see its first Taxi Cooperative in the coming months. It’s members are those taxi operators who are already in the official list of the 31 designated to park at the Belmopan Bus Terminal.
According to Kevin Jones, Belmopan Traffic Manager, Ever since traffic management in Belmopan became part of the City Council’s mandate the City Council has been aiming to organize taxi operators to work as units instead of individual taxi services.
This he told us, is a key stepping stone towards achieving that goal. Senior Cooperative Officer Michel Lewis explained that the Department of Cooperative plays in organizing this group.
“First of all, they approached us in October of last year. Since then, we have been working with them. We developed a logo for them, we assisted in terms of their policies, we have drafted their bi-laws, they had done the training and as we speak the guy is looking at their accounts because that is one thing that we try to ensure that these accounts are basically transparent in terms of where we are going”.
He explained that the pre-cooperative should be registered it time for the International Cooperative Day celebrations.
Senior Cooperative Officer: “Every year in the International Cooperative day celebrated in the 2nd July. We are almost to the end of May. We are looking at maybe in the next two to three weeks that we will register them. I have just spoken to the Registrar of Cooperatives and he has informed me that that is the plan. That is the timeframe we are looking at”.
Nevertheless, reform is never without opposition. Only 25 of the list of 31 are onboard with forming of this union. 6 of them, either because of personal conflicts or because they don’t want to make the investment, are currently not included in the pre-cooperative.
Senior Cooperative Officer: “Sometimes, in cooperatives, the members are not willing to invest, and the only way the cooperative will be sustainable is if the members themselves invest because, for example, if the cooperative wants to embark in a project to members to upgrade the way the vehicles look or the way they are dressed, they need money for that, but if they don’t have the money to move to another level”.
It would be unlawful for the Council to force someone to be part of cooperative. However according to the Belmopan Traffic Manager, the Belmopan City Council has made it clear to them that the list of 31 must be included in the cooperative before they can proceed.