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Jul 25, 2013

B.T.I.A. tells G.O.B. no one in their right mind would sign Norwegian’s M.O.U.

Government has given its green light to a massive cruise tourism port project at Harvest Caye and is about to sign a memorandum of understanding with Norwegian Cruise Lines. The project has been met with stiff opposition from stakeholders because it goes contrary to recommendations in the Sustainable Tourism Master Plan for pocket tourism.  And now, there is word that government will be providing NCL with major tax breaks and that is further angering the Belize Tourism Industry Association. News Five’s Jose Sanchez reports.

 

Jose Sanchez, Reporting

After a Cabinet Subcommittee meeting to discuss Norwegian Cruise Line’s interest in developing a U.S. fifty million dollars facility on Crawl Caye inside the World Heritage Site, that committee struck out the use of the island. But NCL found an alternative, Harvest Caye. In addition to rejection from environmental groups, the B.T.I.A. President says its members are unified in its rejection of the draft proposal.

 

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

Herbert Haylock

“The environmental concerns are still there’re; the economic concerns are still there. And that is one area that we stand firm with that position of cruise developments in the south. We are not for it and we want to again keep the focus on the fact that the master plan calls for development for cruise only in relation of pocket cruise tourism in that area. And the other area is specifically information as it relates to the MOU document.”

 

Reporter

“The south needs jobs, the government needs investment. Look at the IMF report, we are doing poorly. They need this to happen. Are you just trying to protect the industry of overnight?”

 

Herbert Haylock

“I don’t think it goes beyond just a question of protecting the industry. We have to look at the long term issues that relates. I think that we have to look at the short and long terms issues that are related to these developments. Yes there are jobs, but the south is not only place in this country that needs jobs. I think we also have to be critical as yell in terms of looking at where we are putting these investments to ensure that you are not necessary confining development and drugs to only a minority. We are going to be able to see construction chops also for the development of that mature takes place. But it is short terms. And then what happens to those individuals. We need to look at long term opportunities for people to have opportunities to be able to grow and they gotta have and have steady income.”

 

Stewart Krohn

Stewart Krohn, Chairman, B.T.I.A. Placencia

“You asked about jobs before they through these numbers around—eighteen hundred direct and indirectly. But I wanna see what jobs: but driver, tour guides, maintenance working. You know, you are talking about a hundred and thirty days a year. If you work a hundred and thirty ship days a years that are what I call a part time job. So what they are offering is low paying part time jobs. You don’t build a nation on basically low-paying part-time jobs.

 

Statistically from the most under employed part of the country, the BTIA Toledo Chairman also rejects the NCL project.

 

Dennis Garbutt, Chairman, B.T.I.A. Toledo

Dennis Garbutt

“B.T.I.A. Toledo does not support mass cruise ship tourism in the south; especially in southern Belize. We believe that this will affect the existing tourism and the opportunity to develop even the green tourism that we have in southern Belize even more. By having mass tourism and the ecotourism that we have coincide, coexists; it will not be a good thing for the tourism industry especially in the south. Yes we believe there is need for development and jobs, but at the end of the day, they need to be more constructive ways or meaningful ways of bringing jobs to the south. By putting in mass cruise tourism, definitely goes against what we are trying to do in southern Belize.”

 

In addition to numerous concessions and tax breaks, the break down of the head tax is mind boggling.  B.T.I.A.’s Placencia Chairman believes no one in their right mind would sign this MOU, a re-incarnation of the Fort Street Tourism Village’s MOU.

 

Herbert Haylock

“What this MOU is Jose it is virtually a Sarpon copy of the MOU signed by  Said Musa twelve years ago with a fourth street T the fourth street trim village. it’s virtually a carbon copy of Said Musa…the cruise lines in this case NCL. pays GOB pays BTB, 7 US dollars. but what’s very strange is BTB gives NCL back 4 dollars of the 7. So fifty-seven percent of the tax, they give back to N.C.L.  I would ask anyone in cabinet why it is you would give this investor, who is getting fiscal incentives. why on earth give back four of every seven dollars. if i invested 50 million in a hotel in Placencia, and ask gob, after concession, this hotel tax, please give me back fifty-seven percent since im a nice investor. I defy anyone in gob to explain why we do that except to say this is what Said Musa did twelve years ago. That’s the type of deal given to fourth Street Tourism 12 years ago. it was a pioneering project, nevr had cruise ship before. the owner was a Belizean  making investment is tough…see why they what the excuse is now.”

 

The Cabinet subcommittee led by Godwin Hulse, is expected to soon announce an updated MOU that will be signed giving NCL the green-light to proceed with the project. Reporting for News Five, Jose Sanchez.

 

And from the remaining few dollars, PACT must pay twenty-five cents U.S. to monitor NCL’s environmental impact.

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5 Responses for “B.T.I.A. tells G.O.B. no one in their right mind would sign Norwegian’s M.O.U.”

  1. no one in their right mind says:

    >no one in their right mind would

    GOB is exempt, no mind, just corruption.

    Throw another rosewood log on the fire.
    Beat up some fags, make some busts for a stick of weed.

    No one has courage to stop this government.
    we got petitions for this or that.
    none for a recall says it all

    Time to laugh and look away as the ship sinks.

  2. no one in their right mind says:

    >no one in their right mind would

    GOB is exempt, no mind, just corruption.

    Throw another rosewood log on the fire.
    Beat up some fags, make some busts for a stick of weed.

    No one has courage to stop this government.
    we got petitions for this or that.
    none for a recall says it all

    Time to laugh and look away as the ship sinks.

  3. no one in their right mind believes GOB says:

    Has GOB no modesty?

    They should have paid their masters $50M, not taken $50M.
    Everything else under the table.

  4. Ricky Malthus says:

    Barrow and his cabinet must go back to school to understand that investors invest to make a profit, not to sponge off the taxes of the poor, unemployed Belizeans. Don’t give NCL any fiscal incentives, monopolies, or other concessions. Let them do their financial home work before investing. Don’t allow Belize to become like other countries in Africa where everyone gets rich but the natives remain poor, homeless, uneducated , and beggars in their own land. Yes, Belize needs investments, viable investments but none in which we have to finance the so called investors.

  5. Belizean Pride says:

    barrow and his gov, doesn’t care the outcome of this travesty because he knows he’ll be out of gov. seat next election so what he’s doing is preparing a trap which will engulf the coming party next election, which will have by then the Belizeans up in arms when the consequences of his agreement reach it’s peak, of anger with the people. he’ll just watch at home in Miami and laugh at what happens down in the Jewel. do you think that they don’t no it, of course but that’s the way the politics are so nasty now a days.

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