By Michelle Sutherland
Floralia Limited says that they are still awaiting word from the Department of Transport in relation to an injunction filed last week by the Belize Bus Association (BBA), which seeks to quash road service permits that were issued to the company to commence new runs from Independence Village to Belize.
According to the owner of Floralia Limited, Marvin Vanzie, the runs which were set to officially commence at the start of the week were postponed until next week, not because of any legal issue but because emotions on the ground were running at an all-time high. Vanzie said that after consulting with their legal team it was agreed that moving forward with the new schedule would have been too confrontational and so a pause was the best way to deescalate the tension.
Vanzie told The Reporter that while he hopes that logic will prevail in the court, he is cognizant of the loopholes that can propel the results in favor of the other side. “My point is that you never know what can happen inside of the court,” said Vanzie. “But outside of the court, I can tell you that if all logic prevails, we did everything that we had to do to make sure that we did it legally. We didn't pull any strings or ask for any favors, all the documentations are there and that is why I feel confident that nothing will happen. I mean we are not hiding anything and so they will go to court and find out that everything was done properly and that the whole procedure was normal.”
In response to the BBA's allegations that Floralia's road service permits were awarded illegally and did not meet all the requisite criteria, Vanzie said that the allegations are untrue. He told us that he had met all the requirements, filed all his documents, and kept following up with the Department of Transport for several months to get a response. He noted that his paperwork was reviewed and vetted by a board, who then agreed that the new company had met all the requirements and thus they would be awarded their road service permit to enter the competition.
Vanzie said that the decision was then gazetted and when it did not meet any pushback from the public, Floralia was finally cleared to commence their runs from Independence Village to Belize.
Vanzie also responded to the BBA's claim that Floralia was “piggybacking” major runs that bus operators had taken years to build. Vanzie referred to that as a “fake reality” and one that he wanted to dispel with the explanation that runs are not “created” and that while his company does have the capacity to convince customers to use their service, they simply cannot manipulate an entire economy. He stressed that in the end it is left up to a customer's own free will to use their service of choice as well as their need to get to a particular destination for a particular time.
Vanzie said that he can safely say that the company's success at this point is based on hard work and determination by staff that has labored to create the best possible service to their paying customers as well as the company's resolution to provide reliable, comfortable, and clean buses to the public.
In closing, Vanzie reiterated that while Floralia awaits the outcome of the injunction that is before the courts, their old runs will continue uninterrupted.