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Dec 30, 2008

David Gegg says contract with NICH was no secret

Story PictureBut while NICH Board members were kept in the dark about the contract, David Gegg, says the document which he signed with Haylock was a Concession Agreement which the entire NICH technical team knew about for months. Gegg says the project is one he feels is in the interest of everyone, including NICH for better business and a higher quality of service to visitors to the archaeological site.

Voice of David Gegg, Chairman, Zip Line Belize Adventures Ltd.
“My negotiations with people at NICH commenced as early as June or July of this year. We had many meetings which were attended by certainly Ms. Haylock on occasion, Dr. Awe, George Thompson, Bryan Woodeye, Victor Espat, all the technical people at NICH were very much involved in the decision making process. We had meetings in Belmopan, meetings at Caves Branch, meetings in Belize City and this was not a slam dunk where I walk in one day and walk out with some type of agreement, not at all. I’m very disappointed that the minister saw things that way but, like I say, my agreement is not with the ministry, it’s with NICH. I would just like to say that what we are doing is without a doubt in the interest of NICH and its revenue streams. There’s absolutely no privatization taking place. That is—to suggest that that is the case, I believe that’s making mischief. There are no facilities like of the type that we’re talking about at Caves Branch or anywhere near to it and quite frankly by enhancing the site and creating these kinds of facilities, the feeling is in addition to the money that I am paying them to lease the property, their entrance fee that they collect at the gate will increase significantly because their place will be so much nicer now than it has been in the pass and more people will come to it.”

Marion Ali
“So if the ministry offered you monies back for the investment that you have made thus far, what would be your reaction?”

Voice of David Gegg
“I would have to look at their proposal and do what’s in the best interest of my business as well as the country. I am not here to buck the government or to do anything untoward. I do feel that what we were doing is in everyone’s interest and I continue to think along those lines.”

While the matter continues to unfold, what we have confirmed is that NICH board members have planned an emergency meeting for tonight, presumably to discuss the whole issue of the agreement. It provides for a restaurant and shopping facilities to be built on the reserve in return for a yearly fee of sixty thousand dollars to be paid to NICH for ten years after which the building would revert to NICH. We await an Haylock’s return to the country to get her views on the controversial document.

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Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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