“Red flags” on Puerto Azul over Money Issues
Following the inaugural Sitting of the Senate on Thursday, Leader of Government Business, Senator Godwin Hulse, spoke at length with the media about the botched Puerto Azul project. The proposed multimillion dollar tourism investment, conceived by self-styled developers Domenico Giannini and Fabio de La Rosa, was launched at a gala event on the French Riviera in May 2014 during the annual international film festival in Cannes. It boasted a who’s who of ‘A’ list celebrities, including actor John Travolta and renowned Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli. The unveiling was also attended by Minister of Tourism Manuel Heredia Junior and Minister of Economic Development, Trade and Investment Erwin Contreras and their pictures were posted on social media grandstanding with Hollywood stars. Also in those pictures, a smiling Kim Simplis Barrow appears along with Belize Ambassador Nunzio D’Angieri. Now, while Hulse may not be one for glitz and glam, he sits on the Cabinet Subcommittee on Investment. According to the U.D.P. senator, red flags began going up immediately when the so-called investors began discussing ways in which they would be able to raise the necessary monies for the development.
Godwin Hulse, Member, Cabinet Subcommittee on Investment
“Because I had been involved in securitization investigations back in 2004 through to 2006, when this came and he talked about, they talked about raising commercial paper and kind of showing us all sorts of ways that they could raise the money, I was so firm in saying well, “Show me,” because I know that banks don’t let go money that easily. But yes, for the nation it is going forward. You have to know that a lot of these people try to pick small countries like Belize. We have this glorious Blue Hole as you say, we have a magnificent reef, the second longest in the world and it’s an attractive thing. If you can go around and try to get people to dump money in this, this is just, to me, has turned out to be just a major Ponzi Scheme. There are a lot of little ones floating around but this is just a major one.”
“Should you all have minimum criteria to say that you cannot be considered as a legitimate investor if you don’t meet X minimum criteria?”
“But that is in place. That is what I was telling you, there’s a five-point criteria that was approved by Cabinet, supported by the Opposition, which lays it out. I can tell you there’s been people who have come already to invest; one particularly huge investor who I will not name and has the resources, who wanted to put a facility on Placencia. He talked about putting an adults only beach and I said that sounds like a nudist thing which is a nonstarter, it is not going to be socially acceptable. We are not in any fight with the church, the church wahn deh down our backs like white pan rice.”