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Paumen’s Dark Knight in trouble Print E-mail
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Written by Administrator   
Thursday, 21 January 2016 00:00

American-Belizean businessman Bradley Paumen is out on bail for allegedly setting a hit on American-Iranian Faroud Michael Modiri and three others. While the prosecution objected to bail on the grounds that he is a flight risk, Paumen’s defense was that he has significant business ties to the country and has no plans to leave. One of those businesses is Dark Night Cave Tubing which operates at Nohoch Che’en National Park. Unfortunately for Paumen, it appears that even his business is now in trouble. That is because Dark Knight started the year without a valid tour operator’s license and despite warnings and cease and desist orders from the authorities the firm continued to operate as normal. This blatant disregard for rules and regulation may result in penalties against Dark Night.

The Belize Tourism Board is under sustained pressure from small Belizean tour operators to ensure that huge foreign owned agencies are held in compliance with national regulations. Speaking on Paumen’s legal and operational troubles, Tom Greenwood, President of the local tour operators association (FECTAB), said, “The concept too often is seen on the ground, that if you are a local you get hammered and if you are a foreigner you get kissed on the cheek and forgiven or allowed to continue. That has to stop!” The pressure from FECTAB has escalated to another level since the association learnt on Tuesday, January 19, that Dark Night’s Tour Operator’s License was renewed that day. Despite an assurance from BTB that Dark Night completed the application process and fulfilled all criteria for licensing, FECTAB believes that the board should have considered the legal trouble associated with the company’s owner. For reference, FECTAB reminded the press of Yhony Rosado’s case. Rosado was called before the board after he was accused of being in a fight with a rival tour operator. His license suspended, for a day, until public pressure led to a reversal of that decision. Rosado said, ““We are not asking them to treat us like Paumen, just treat everybody fair.”

The Belize Tourism Board issued a statement saying that because they continued to operate without a license, Dark Night will be brought before the Tour Operators Committee for review of their license status.