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Aug 25, 2017

Stake Bank is a go! G.O.B. and Michael Feinstein shake hands on multi-million dollar cruise port for City

After years of negotiations with the Government of Belize, developer Michael Feinstein has finally gotten the green-light to proceed with the construction of the Stake Bank Cruise Ship Docking Facility.  The last we had heard of the proposed project was that there was a back-and-forth between Feinstein and Minister of Tourism Manuel Heredia Junior in March. Feinstein accused the government of using a potential Port Loyola project with Michael Ashcroft at the Port of Belize to sideline him, among other things. But it appears cooler heads have prevailed as a formal investment agreement with the Feinstein Group of Companies was signed this afternoon, paving the way for a facility that can accommodate much larger vessels and a full-time theme park. It resolves, at least in eighteen months, a major worry for Belize’s cruise industry. Aaron Humes reports.

 

Michael Feinstein, Developer, Stake Bank

Michael Feinstein

“It’s been a long time, but I’m very satisfied, the way it’s handled. I think we’re good; I have no problem working with the Government, absolutely. And let’s just do it, that’s the whole idea. I don’t see – looking back doesn’t solve a problem; we start solving it tomorrow.”

 

Aaron Humes, Reporting

This man is smiling tonight, because his ship has finally come in, so to speak. Michael Feinstein has been back and forth, and even to court to protect his Stake Bank investment, which will operate without exclusivity but is effectively the only game in town, at least in the Belize District.

 

Patrick Faber

Patrick Faber, Deputy Prime Minister

“I think the bottom-line is that we wanted a facility that the ships could dock without having to do the tendering, and I believe this initiative achieves that objective and that was primarily where we wanted to go. The Feinstein Group and Mr. Feinstein has assured us that they’re able to work with the existing players, and that was of concern for us – what would happen to the FSTV folks but that is now clear. So we are happy that we are able to make this development; we believe that cruise tourism, of course, will continue to play a major role in Belize’s development; we believe that this sends the right signal to the players, and we look forward to greater times.”

 

The ‘definitive agreement’ signed between Feinstein and the Government, according to Attorney General Michael Peyrefitte and Minister of State for Trade and Investment Tracey Taegar-Panton, follows on from legislation passed three years ago to set up the project.

 

Michael Peyrefitte, Attorney General

Michael Peyrefitte

“What it does is, it outlines the agreement between the Government and the developer. And within that agreement, for example, you will find that there is the Act as amended – because remember that when the original Act was passed, it was passed giving Stake Bank exclusivity; and so I think this definitive agreement has asked Stake Bank to agree that in the future the Act will be amended to take out that exclusivity. So what this is is a governing document that will set out the basic parameters within which Stake Bank will be operating.”

 

Tracey Taegar-Panton

Tracey Taegar-Panton, Minister of State, Trade and Investment

“It is consistent with similar-type developments, for example what has happened with Belize Island Holdings down south. It takes into consideration revenue-sharing obligations between the Government and the developer and what is expected in the medium-to-long term in terms of how the project moves forward. As the A.G. alluded to, there are some amendments that are in progress; for the amendments that both the developer and the Government has agreed to as it relates to the actual Stake Bank Act. But this will allow the project to move forward, clearly outlining the obligation of both parties.”

 

Construction is expected to begin after the hurricane season ends in early December, and Feinstein reiterated that like his previous concern, the Belize/Fort Street Tourism Village, Belizeans will be ‘ninety-five percent’ involved.

 

Michael Feinstein

“When we built the existing village, FSTV, we had ninety-five percent local businesspeople in there; it’s now a one hundred and eighty-degree turnaround to ninety-five percent foreign. Stake Bank should be back to ninety-five percent Belizean.”

 

Reporter

“That is a guarantee on your behalf?”

 

Michael Feinstein

“I’ve never seen a problem with giving Belizeans the opportunity. It worked with FSTV – then it was called the BTV, the Belize Tourism Village – and I don’t see why it wouldn’t continue working.”

Aaron Humes reporting for News Five.

 

According to the Deputy Prime Minister, there should be no concerns from environmental entities as their primary issue, the proposed causeway to Belize City, has been removed from the proposal. The total estimated investment size for the Project is cited to be sixty-two and a half million U.S. dollars and should employ at least five hundred Belizeans.

 

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1 Response for “Stake Bank is a go! G.O.B. and Michael Feinstein shake hands on multi-million dollar cruise port for City”

  1. Timber says:

    I never agreed with this project and will continue to voice my opinion against it. Fienstein will and can say all he wants until he achieves his goal. We will see how many Belizeans will actually be involved and how it will benefit this country. I’m not against development. I’M AGAINST WHAT COMES WITH THIS DEVELOPMENT; THE ABUSE OF LABOUR OF LOCALS, MAJORITY OF THE MONEY BEING SENT OUT OF THE COUNTRY, AND, MOST IMPORTANTLY, THE AVAILABILITY AND PASSAGE OF ILLICIT MATERIALS. MAYBE IT’S TIME MY FRIENDS HERE IN THE DEA START TAKING A LOOK. I WONDER HOW MANY OF YOU IN GOVERNMENT GOT YOUR DIRTY PAWS GREASED? I DIGRESS.

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