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May 29, 2013

B.T.I.A. joins Placencia residents against mega cruise port development

There is another issue that is moving to the front burner. Crawl Caye which is located in the South Water Caye Marine Reserve is recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. But all indications are that Norwegian Cruise Line is well underway to purchase the caye from four individuals for a mega tourism project. On the government side, Minister Godwin Hulse is heading a sub-committee. While he is said to support the project, it is known that two other cabinet ministers are dead set against it. The project has come under harsh opposition from Placencia residents and today, the Belize Tourism Industry Association (B.T.I.A.) joined the chorus of rejection of the project. The proposed deal with the cruise line is for an exclusive thirty year concession for Stann Creek District as a cruise port of entry with a second location on Crawl Caye. It would include exemptions on import duties, income tax, general sales tax among other incentives. It also includes the use of foreign labor, fast tracking of permits, including environmental, construction, dredging and filling permits and operation of passenger tenders. The legal transactions are being conducted through Emil Arguelles from Arguelles and Associates. He is a director on the Belize Tourism Board and his brother Carlo Arguelles is also involved with the project. Following on a release issued today, News Five spoke to President of the B.T.I.A., Herbert Haylock, who says that for one, the development will take away from the upgrades currently being done to Belize City in the area of the current tourist village.


Herbert Haylock

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

“B.T.I.A. as an organization has taken a position to say that we are not for this particular development and we have outlined some reasons why we are not for this development. And I think when we look at the specifics of that, there are some key concerns that we have. The ones immediately that we’ve highlighted look at the economics of the situation. We have listed in the release that we have some serious concerns as it relates to the intent from what it would look like and seem at this point in time to consider opening and developing a new area in the south of the country. And when we look at that situation, we have not necessarily considered and looked at how the industry, the sector specifically, and the government has consolidated what is currently on the ground. And we have highlighted some of that in the press release. So we are pointing to the developments that have been taking place and that are on the ground right now; for example, in the Fort George Tourism Area. We are saying that there has to be some consolidation efforts put forward on that particular front first and foremost and it is a massive investment that has been put in place from the sustainable tourism project. That’s one of the things that has to be contemplated. I think when we expand that beyond in terms of the economic argument, you look at the opportunities that the city council, for example, has put on the ground in terms of developing the infrastructure of this city. We all understand that yes, it is for the benefit of the residents and yes, it is for the benefit of the city in terms of infrastructure. But we understand too that spills over. And that spill over does take into account the issues as it relates to cruise traffic around the city and people moving around the city. And for the betterment for that particular product that is being promoted from the city in terms of a specific opportunity. That is one area. We’ve not also expanded on, but we’ve cited and highlighted the issues environmentally that are concerns for us at this point in time given what we understand to be the specific location fo this particular development.”

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10 Responses for “B.T.I.A. joins Placencia residents against mega cruise port development”

  1. Maverick says:

    Ok, as soon as the wealthy expat hotel owners, who have already cut their mangrove, filled their beaches, and built their own business, (without hiring locals, mind you), can tell Belizeans how they intend to create jobs for the poor residents in the villages along the South Stann Creek and Toledo district, then they can holler anything they want. Why would we be against people that will visit our attractions, pay visitor fees, hire local tour guides, buy local handicraft, see Belize for its real beauty, eat our local food? Don’t be idiots, cruise business is incremental business it’s not a replacement for overnight tourism. It hires those that are not accommodated in the resorts, it gives day wages, tips, small and micro business sales. The locals really need to speak out.

  2. James says:

    Why don’t we get a written proposal for us to debate, instead of jumping to conclusions. Then the people can decide if they support it or not; and if not, what changes can be made etc. Why jump to conclusions?

  3. Bulba Martinez says:

    I can understand to a certain point why Placencia residents are against developing the Tourism Industry in the south (ie) adequate accomodations, selfishness, and space. This by itself give B.T.I.A the opportunity to jump on this war against “The Forgotten South” since time of GOBH. After all, we in the south have the only two Deepest Water Ports, the longest Coastal Plain, is the Culture Capital of Belize, and yes, has the most private Islands throughout the entire country. Why didn’t GOB allocate funds for development of this industry or even to enhance the south to be a part of this industry from a long time ago? Now this idiot is talking about “spill over”. The only thing that ever spill over our way from GOB is a bunch of shit. A few years ago we were invited to a meeting at “The Pelican Resort” in Dangriga, only to hear from Heredia’s Secretary how US$36Million donated either by Venezuela or the Taiwanese Govt. was distributed towards development of this industry in our country. Some could not believe what they heard but I did. We were told that names of the Districts were written on pieces of paper, put into a hat, and someone was asked to pull the lucky District. Your guess is as good as mine but guess who’s constituency got it. This is a very true story and will not be surprise if not being posted. They (GOB) have a field day moreso when they see that people from the south are not united like they should, but then again, it was probably designed that way. I call it how I see it, and damn the rest, been there done that!!

  4. Rose says:

    Well no surprise there with the Arguelles brothers being involved in this scam. Their financial wealth since 2008 leaves one astounded. Which one of us can afford to buy a condo in San Pedro? Heck the majority of Belizeans cannot even afford to make a small housing loan or for that matter even travel to San Pedro for vacation.

  5. Carla says:

    Dont be a hater Rose-focus on your work ethic. If you work hard and quit wasting time blogging, maybe someday you too can buy a plane ticket to san pedro.

  6. SKEPTICAL says:

    Government best do their homework on this one. And I mean do their own homework. Not just pay consultants to come in and tell them what they want to hear. READ for yourselves. Not because it sounds good its going to be good for the country. They always promise jobs but yet the locals don’t get the jobs, yes, maybe they will throw a couple of jobs our way so they can march a few people out to say that they did get the jobs. These deals always make wealthy everyone else but the PEOPLE. BELIZEANS STAND UP AND PROTECT YOUR COUNTRY. Quit sitting back hoping the Goverment will look out for you cause they won’t. The only time they will listen is when they feel that their JOBS are in jeopardy and you the people have that power. WAKE UP BELIZEANS.

  7. Storm says:

    @James makes a lot of sense. Everything so far has been a deal cut in secret, with secret plans, secret partners, and nothing for the public to see or know — BUT A PROJECT OF THIS NATURE AND SIZE WILL AFFECT EVERY BELIZEAN FOR GENERATIONS TO COME.

    Let’s have full sunoight on the proposal — if it’s a good one,l we will all agree with it and unite to make it happen. If it’s no good, let’s not go down that path. Secrecy is essential to tyranny and corruption, so let’s get rid of it.

    I have a question that I think is preliminary to considering this project:

    How does the project propose to get passengers from Crawl Caye to the mainland? The objection to Belize City today is that passengers must be transported by tenders and water taxis, but won’t that still be necessary at a Crawl Caye passenger terminal?

    The only other option is to build a causeway from Crawl Caye to the mainland, and that will change the tides, destroy some beaches, create new beaches, and require dredging. It will be a MAJOR change to the marine environment.

    I think those logistical and environmental questions need to be answered before we even consider whether the project makes financial sense, and for whom.

  8. Maverick says:

    Speaking of jobs on the peninsula, can we count how many real estate agents, contractors, tour operators, dive guides, and chefs are actually Belizeans?. How many actually have work permits or did they come in as “retirees”? Now they are the ones to influence GOB to keep their status quo while locals forgo their opportunities. Remember, policy is that tour operations MUST have majority Belizean ownership. These loudmouths don’t see opportunity for themselves, so they crap on it. Maybe an immigration and labour sweep on the peninsula is way past due.

  9. Luis says:

    This is just like Labadi in Haiti, ship anchors at the (Crawl Caye) island and no one goes to Belize City…..I VOTE NO……loss of potential income for residents in all matters….

    Build the Cruise Terminal in Belize City, Move the the Frees trade area to that site and the old site a new marina complex for new tourism, hotels and restaurant, cinemas other….

  10. beachman says:

    I think Belize is giving too much up in this proposal. A lot of the money that can benefit Belize is in the taxes Norweigan could pay but are being waved. How else will Belize have funds to build her infrastructure?

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