Saturday, September 15, 2007

Island News

I read our local paper Por Esto every day online. I use Altavista Babelfish to translate it. Sometimes the translations leave me scratching my head, but mostly I can figure it out. Here are some of the more interesting things gleaned from the paper and my thoughts in italics:

* The local fishermen are upset with the Navy for not patrolling better. They claim that "outside" fishermen are coming into their waters and taking illegal catches to market in Cancun. Mostly lobster that doesn't meet the size criteria. I don't think it is just "outside" fishermen. Every day in front of my house I see snorkelers free diving for lobster. Whether it is in season or not. I have seen what they catch because they come to my door trying to sell it. Some of these lobsters are tiny, to say the least.

* There is a new director of Public Safety. His first priority is to work with the police. He wants to expand the force, give them a pay raise and improve the branch called "Tourist Police". Boy do I agree with this! It was also reported that these police officers make 1000 pesos a week! That's only about $100 USD folks. No wonder they are not too motivated to do anything. And the total force right now is 50 officers for a population of 15,000 people. Spread kind of thin.

* The local taxi drivers are screaming about the bus here infringing upon their business again. They want it banned. They are also asking for an increase of fares. Something that has not been done since 2005. They have asked for a 5.5% increase. I think it has been approved but must be spread out over the next year. That would be an increase of 3 pesos per month. Currently the cost is 9 pesos so by this time next year it would be around 13 pesos. The bus they are talking about does not travel the entire island. It only goes about half way and then turns around. It mostly services the colonia areas where the local population lives. The cost to ride it right now is 4 pesos. Although 13 pesos doesn't sound like much, it is going to have disastrous results to the taxi drivers. Why would anyone pay 13 pesos vs 4 pesos for a ride to the same place? Of course, the bus stops running at 10pm. Coincidentally, taxis double their current rate now as of 11pm.

* Over 2000 people are delinquent in paying their property taxes for 2007. Nothing was said about doing anything about it. Just that it is a problem. We are lucky. We have to pay our property taxes, just like everybody else, but we can pay it all at once. If you pay the whole amount in December or January, you get a 25% reduction. Most people cannot afford to do this and instead pay 12 monthly installments.

1 comment:

el oso said...

Taxi drivers are among the highest income earners on the work force. They seldom have a single passenger in the taxi. And the rate is not shared by the passengers. The only time you see a single passenger is when the passenger is a tourist. Tourist rates are higher.Most taxis are owned by other than the driver, who rents the cab on a daily basis.Some owners have more than one taxi.For gringo residents arguing with the driver about the fair is an ongoing activity.Especially with the younger drivers. After years on the Island most of the older drivers recognize the local gringos.