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May 29, 2013

…And serious socio-economic implications for Belize City and Placencia

By all accounts the memorandum of understanding includes the ability for the company to open casinos and become an authorized foreign exchange dealer.  The Sustainable Tourism Project, which was financed by the Inter-American Development Bank, hired a consultant in 2011 who concluded that, “Pocket cruise tourism is the only acceptable form of cruise tourism on the southeastern coast of Belize.” B.T.I.A. President, Herbert Haylock, went further and discussed the socio-economic implications for Placencia because unchecked cruise tourism can have an effect not only on overnight stays at hotels in the area, but there is also an environmental impact to be considered.

 

Herbert Haylock, President, B.T.I.A.

Herbert Haylock

“At this point Jose, and again anyone can take a look at this document—because it is a public document and cabinet has endorsed the national sustainable tourism master plan. That particular document has called for development of the south, but not at the level at which this particular would seem to want to take things. And it is looked at only development as the view of having it be pocket tourism, which when defined looks at tourism that stays within the realm of two hundred to two hundred and fifty persons on a particular ship in that area—again with the intent of it being sustainable because of again the infrastructure we are looking at in that particular location. When we look at this particular development, we are looking at an initiative that has a development that would be on the ground that basically takes into account ships with the magnitude of two thousand plus visiting; and that is current capacity in terms of NCL ships at this point in time and others. We know that there are larger ships that may perhaps look at this as an opportune location to maybe shift and move. And when we begin to marry those issues and marry those concerns—and I think that is one of the reasons why we decided to take this public stand—that there are some very serious economic issues that need to be contemplated in this matter and really considered. As you know, the industry from point of view of the cruise sector has been and continues to play a significant part of this city’s development and growth. And at end of day, the shifting of this particular development to the south, may ultimately impact that and we are saying we have not even gotten to the point of consolidating what we currently have at this point in time. We really want the individuals who are currently viewing this—and against the key government officials involved in this process—to really understand that they have and the government has accepted or put in place what is a policy by accepting the master plan via the cabinet. And we are looking at that critically because that was done just a few months ago at the latter part of last year. Are we now contemplating, are we now saying that we are totally revisiting that? Are we now ignoring that completely? Has it just been put on a shelf? Those are the questions that we now need to bring to light and say…Why is there an urgency? Why is there a rush for this development? Those are the type of things that we are now starting to get as feedback. We want and we have asked for answers. We’ve asked for clarity on certain particular points as it relates to this development and quite frankly we have not received that information.”

 

This morning, our emails were flooded with local and foreign opposition to the NCL project which is expected to go before cabinet for approval next week.

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2 Responses for “…And serious socio-economic implications for Belize City and Placencia”

  1. Storm says:

    We don’t need more casinos, we need fewer of them. They haven’t resulted in the promised money bonanza for anyone but the owners, and they bring crime and corruption.

    It’s obvious to me that if tourism is moved from the center of the country to the south, that tourism in the north will die off. I don’t say that’s a good thing or a bad thing, but it is an inevitasble result we should consider as a nation. A matter as dramatic as this one needs to be decided by us all, not by just a few crooked politicians and their families that stand to collect piles of cash for agreeing to whatever is put before them.

    Why did this MOU have to be negotiated in the dark, and still remain a “state secret”?

  2. Louisville,Ky says:

    It seems to me, Mr. Haylock and the rest of the BTIA are scared of what the South has as potential to becoming the power house and heart and Soul of the Tourism industry.
    Make no mistake, the South has it all. Natural deep water, miles of golden beaches, Ancient Maya Civilization, wet lands with flora and fauna,water fall all bout the place, countless Cayes, and a culture that is as hot and vibrant as Marie Sharp’s sauce and seasonings.( for those who don’t know, Marie’s produce are grown at the foothills of the Maya mountain at Melinda) We talking world class now folks.

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