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Jun 17, 2014

Audubon Executive speaks on letter sent to Cabinet Subcommittee

The Italian investors of the proposed billion-dollar Puerto Azul mega tourism development project on Northern Caye and Sandbore Caye, within the Lighthouse Reef Atoll, arrived in the country this afternoon. While the purpose of their visit is to clear the air on what has been reported in the local media since the introduction of the project in Cannes a few weeks ago, it is believed that President Domenico Giannini and partner, Fabio La Rosa, will be meeting with Government officials. Last Thursday, a group of conservation N.G.O.s came together and sent a letter to the Chair of the Cabinet Subcommittee, Godwin Hulse, in reference to the criteria that will be used to assess the proposed Puerto Azul Development. The letter came on the heels of a statement made by Prime Minister Barrow at his press conference last Wednesday. According to the conservation community, they are concerned about the methodology in which the assessment will be done and are offering their experience and skills to assist with the process. Executive Director of Belize Audubon Society, Amanda Burgos, told the media about the essence of the letter.

 

Amanda Burgos, Executive Director, Belize Audubon Society

Amanda Burgos

“As far as we know, the project is speculation still; there has been no proposal on the table. However, from all indications and everything that has been said, the government is prepared to do assessment of the project when it is tabled as the same group of N.G.O.s and concerned civil society. We have written a letter expressing our concern that for one, we would like to know the criteria and methodology being used. We know that Mister Hulse has referred to his five points, so we can hopefully, rightly speculate that those are the five points that will be used and again the prime minister referred to the five points. And so we have also offered our services as well, if any information is needed, any additional data. I believe Healthy Reef has gone on record showing patch reefs and showing the importance ecologically of the site. And so we are open to any dialogue that is then involved and of course as Belizeans we would like to be informed and we ask to continually be informed of the process and what is happening. I think we all have a right to know what is happening so close to piece of our World Heritage Site.  The letter in essence does highlight the fact that we would want more details in terms of the criteria. We know what the five points are, but what are the criteria, what’s the methodology; and again, our request to be involved in the process. We are aware that there will be some degree of confidentiality; however, our hope is really to keep our eyes and ears open and close to the ground and to get a feel of what’s happening.”

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