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Aug 1, 2013

B.T.B. and Tourism Ministry calls B.T.I.A. ‘irresponsible and ill-informed’

Tracy Taeger Panton

The government newspaper reports today that Prime Minister Dean Barrow has confirmed that Minister Erwin Contreras will be signing a memorandum of understanding with Norwegian Cruise Lines on behalf of the government. While the specific date for the signature has not been announced, it is only a matter of days before that takes place. Late this evening, the Belize Tourism Board and the Ministry of Tourism came out on the front line for full support of NCL’s proposed fifty million dollar port and development project at Harvest Caye in the south. NCL had initially proposed to use Crawl Caye which was inside the Belize Barrier Reef, a protect World Heritage Site, but when that was rejected, NCL turned to Harvest Caye. Both the C.E.O. for the Ministry of Tourism and the Director of Tourism denounced what they call ill-informed, irresponsible campaign launched by the Belize Tourism Industry Association” unquote. Though thousands may come, Tracy Taegar Panton and Laura Esquivel Frampton say the groups sent to each destination will meet the pocket cruise tourism standard set in the Sustainable Tourism Master Plan.

 

Jose Sanchez

“Does the master plan states specifically pocket tourism for the south?”

 

Tracy Taegar Panton, C.E.O., Ministry of Tourism 

“Yes it does. It does speak of two strategies for the further development of cruise tourism—conventional cruise tourism and also pocket cruises.”

 

Jose Sanchez

“Does those two aspects deal with specific parts of the country?”

 

Tracy Taegar Panton

“Yes, pocket cruise tourism experience is described for the southern part of Belize and the business model that is being proposed by the developer will have a pocket cruise tourism effect. And that is why I am saying that I believe that B.T.I.A.’s information is misinformed because I am not sure on what basis they are making their statements.”

 

Jose Sanchez

“They are looking at one of the earlier draft proposal from NCL and that draft proposal speaks to mass tourism. We’re talking thousands rather than the numbers for pocket tourism. How many do you expect from NCL?”

 

Laura Esquivel-Frampton, Director of Tourism

Laura Esquivel-Frampton

“To clarify what we are talking about is the experience. So to clarify, the biggest ship right now that is being built to our knowledge is about four thousand passengers. We will not have a situation where four thousand passengers will disembark on Placencia or Punta Gorda or on any one individual destination or sight. What will happen is the cruise ship, which could range in the number of passengers, will land at Harvest Caye. From Harvest Caye, we will control the numbers that go to each site. So for those persons that want to go on marine tours, they will go straight from harvest Caye out to the marine tours. For those persons who want to experience Maya life in a Maya village, the Maya village will tell us only fifty max a day. Well only fifty tickets can be sold for that Maya village. Lamanai, Lim Ni Punit, Cockscomb Wildlife Center; if the people of Placencia tell us they want zero persons from this cruise ship to have a village experience in Placencia, then there will be zero persons from this cruise ship who would go because they are being distributed from Harvest Caye to a different…they won’t even go to Placencia. They will go to a different land site where the land tours will be moved off. So in that way we are controlling the numbers to have a pocket cruise effect. So what we are saying is that the proposal from the developers will give us that effect that will be in line with the master plan.”

 

Jose Sanchez

“That’s the concern of the B.T.I.A. sticking to that numbers. When you are referring now to what is being said by the environmentalists, they are concerned about the effects of that particularly large number on Harvest Caye, the reefs and the surrounding area. How will that offset the environmental impact?”

 

Tracy Taegar Panton

“Let me say that the Cabinet sub-committee is very clear. Any development for Harvest Caye or any other island in Belize will be subject to an environmental impact assessment. If they are unable to clear the environmental impact assessment process, the development won’t be able to happen. So it is really…I think that some of the concerns are really premature in that all the processes in terms of the feasibility study approach for this project is still not completed.”

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5 Responses for “B.T.B. and Tourism Ministry calls B.T.I.A. ‘irresponsible and ill-informed’”

  1. Flabbergasted says:

    And we all know how closely those EIAs are scrutinized by the government!

  2. GOB=criminal says:

    If Erwin is doing the deal you know this is going to crooked and incompetent. He is the one behind the 2012 Xunatunich concert scam, with his buddies in Chicago.

    But NCL is not too smart either doing business with UDP crooks, unless they are two hands of the same octopus. Their contract will voided by the next government, when all the crooked details come out.

    But NCL is really Genting Hong Kong (which is owned by Genting Berhad in Malaysia), they own the Norwegian Cruise Lines. Would not surprise me there is a rosewood connection behind this.

    Either way Erwin makes the $$$ for the UDP machine. So it ends up screwing the locals everyday that have to deal with the aftermath; they should have made the money so they can move to Switzerland.

    If there was ever a major disaster like Costa Concordia, run by another captain Francesco Schettino, or just regular cruise ship pollution that destroys the reef. anybody’s guess who to sue, not like the GOB attorneys or their private legal army can figure it out. Like they NCL is going to have a trial in Belize? dream on.

  3. Sue Ridge says:

    Irresponsible and ill-informed? Oh, could that be because BTB is keeping everyone in the dark?

  4. Mushroom says:

    Wow! Keep people in the dark and feed them shit, and then tell them that they are ill-informed?

  5. Don´t Be Envious says:

    GOB=criminal

    How can you come up with such a bullshit theory of the Xunantunich Concert and Erwin. If you ain´t informed just shot the f..k up.

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