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What? Ambergris Caye…our only Print Newspaper Doesn’t Think Mistreating Tourists Is News?

The “San Pedro Sun” was called today about the treatment of Joe the Tourist. You’ll recall Joe found out that he’d overstayed his tourist stamp and immediately went to Immigration to inform them of his error. He was locked in jail overnight and only a concerted effort by his hotel hosts, Mayor Danny and other concerned citizens prevented his incarceration from being extended by many more days. He was still fined $1000 by the local magistrate. (Serial burglars have been fined $350 and let back on to the streets with no jail time).

Well, guess what? The San Pedro Sun basically said “Serves Joe Right” on the phone. They won’t report this as something that could hurt our tourism industry. Maybe they don’t want to anger anyone in Immigration. Presumably they’ll report it as an immigration offense in their Police Report section. Nice. Let’s put Joe the Tourist, who reported his “crime” the minute he found out about it, in print along with the pimps, hookers, burglars, wife beaters and rapists.

It’s highly disturbing to see that our North American owned island newspaper, presumably owned and run by people who first came to the island as tourists, has so little regard for the damage fiascoes such as this can cause to tourism on our island.

Immigration officials were called in Belmopan,the Northern Border,and Belize city and asked what they would have done and the AD was told that they would have told the tourist off charged him/her the 50bzd fee and backdated the visa. Many foreigners have worked here and for months not had their visas renewed and just “sorted” it out with immigration-a cash fine appeared to suffice.

Just maybe the owners are having problems becoming citizens and do not want to upset the apple cart. It would credible to say that the Immigration Dept. is the one running the San Pedro Sun

 



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