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Removing the Blindfold on Lady Justice

Bali Association of Freelance Tourism Drivers Call for an Impartial Approach to Law Enforcement.

(7/17/2011) The 2,200 strong Association of Freelance Tourism Drivers (ASAPFB) – the recently formed groups of Bali’s unlicensed and illegal gypsy drivers are calling on the government to press ahead with efforts to bring the activities of unlicensed tourist guides and illegal travel agents under control.

Whether the call for stronger law enforcement in the tourism sector from the ASAPFB is motivated by spite, a call for equal treatment under the law or an earest desire for a firmer application of the rules in Bali remains unclear.

The chairman of the ASAPFB, Wayan Suata, was quoted in NusaBali as saying on Tuesday, July 12, 2011: “We support steps by the provincial tourism office (Disparda). However, we also seek justice, because there are many people operating illegally in Bali tourism that, it should be noted, are not Balinese but are, nonetheless, allowed to freely operate. One of these are the tourist information offices in Kuta and Nusa Dua operating without licenses.”

Suana, speaking to the press in the company of members of his association, complained that the subject tourist information offices are unlicensed and tend to destroy Bali’s tourism image by selling cheap tourism packages. The same operators, he said, cause losses to the government through their failure to pay taxes.

Underlining his point, Suata said, “We have already made an agreement with the government that the 2,200 drivers operating under our association will follow all the rules of tourism, including not representing themselves as guides.” He insisted that his members would only safely deliver tourist to their destination where they will be handed over to licensed guides to lead them through local tourist attractions.

The vice-chairman of the ASAPFB, Wayan Suana, said his members are now aware that in order to enjoy a piece of the “tourism pie” they need a clear legal foundation. To that end, the Association is now forming a Cooperative that will provide a legal structure for them to provide transportation services in Bali.

Suana called on the government to call a halt to sweeping actions against unlicensed drivers during the transition period needed to legally establish the Cooperative and put the necessary licenses for his members in place.

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