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Aug 2, 2013

Prime Minister Signs MOU with Norwegian Cruise Line

Norwegian Cruise Line’s mega-million dollar destination in southern Belize is one step closer to a done deal with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between G.O.B. and N.C.L.  The signing took place on Thursday, but up until now, government had been tight-lipped on details of negotiations over the past month. But the two parties have reached a point of compromise. And that news hasn’t gone over well with promoters of pocket-tourism in the south including the Belize Tourism Industry Association. But that’s not phasing G.O.B.  Mike Rudon spoke to Prime Minister Dean Barrow today and has the story.

 

Mike Rudon, Reporting

The ink has dried on an MOU between the government of Belize and Norwegian Cruise Lines, and Prime Minister Dean Barrow says all negotiations were aimed at finding balance, particularly in relation to employment and opportunities for Belizeans

 

Prime Minister Dean Barrow

Dean Barrow

“Certainly we took out the twenty year exemption from business taxes; that’s been taken out. There is an insistence that after a certain number of years, the head tax will be increase. There is a great insistence on ensuring that the jobs will be had by Belizeans even as we try to protect our sites against overcrowding. In other words, one provision says you must take twenty-five percent or whatever the percentage is of your passengers to our sites—whether marine or terrestrial—and all those tours must be for Belizeans.”

 

An increase in employment for Belizeans is good news, but dissenters say that there is plenty bad, including the head tax which has been agreed.

 

Dean Barrow

“I’ve heard complaint about oh but the head tax is being apportioned in the same way as the current provisions. In fact, maintained with respect to the other cruise lines. Well that is exactly the point. These people want to go south, so it is new for the south. How are you going to tell them we want you to come, we want the investments, we want the jobs; but you know what, you will pay more than everybody else who is operating in Belize? No. look, the point has to be made that in some countries, they have to actually pay the cruise lines to come to their country you know.”

 

So with the MOU signed, what’s next for the project?

 

Dean Barrow

“I am satisfied that on balance—everything is a balancing act—on balance, this is a good investment for Belize and especially for the south of Belize and we will proceed subject…we make very clear in the memorandum of understanding—which in any event is not contractual; it is not a binding legal document. But we made clear that we will not sign a binding legal document until the EIA has been passed, until all the technical people who have anything to do with whether you are interfering with manatee sites, whether in terms of how you get rid of your waste water and waste; you must do A, B, C and D so that there will be no dumping, there is no pollution that is absolutely minimal…that sort of thing. Nothing will be done legally until all those requirements have been worked out.”

 

And even as plans proceed, PM Barrow says that for the government, it’s a damned if you do, damned if you don’t scenario.

 

Dean Barrow

“What I resent is people who suggest that this is some sort of giveaway or sellout. Man it is always a balancing act. When enough foreign isn’t coming, we are criticized for that.”

 

We predict that there will be plenty of criticism going around as protest against the project so far has been sustained and strong. Mike Rudon for News Five.

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4 Responses for “Prime Minister Signs MOU with Norwegian Cruise Line”

  1. GOB=criminal says:

    Erwin must be disappointed he could not screw Belize.
    Deano must see a better deal for himself, top dog barks and gets his meat.

    Sorry Erwin, maybe some other criminal contract will come your way.

  2. NY says:

    I really thought that this PM would have done a better job governing the country based on what he had promised during his campaign.

  3. NY says:

    I really thought that this PM would have done a better job governing the jewel based on what he had promised during his campaign. He vowed that his administration would be transparent, efficient; void of corruption and cronies. I have to say that what I have seen over his time in office is nothing but a repeat of the past PUP government, nothing but corruption, a failed judicial system, lack of upward mobility for many and a high crime rate………and based on some of the question he was asked by the media, this PM seems totally ignorant to what is transpiring in the country, which could be summed up as being asleep at the wheels, or he does not care about what is happening to the average Bzean. For example when asked about Mr. BUCKLEY’s ordeal, he was unaware that it had been two years to this day he had been suffering from the gun shot wounds. He also wasn’t aware of how much the ROSE WOOD has been sold for because to him these things are trivial due to the fact that they are not affecting his cash flow. In the case of the ROSE WOOD, to him, this was AMELLIA’s and VEGA’s hustle. Furthermore, when he was asked about Vega’s hand in most of the recent scandals that have been plaguing his administration, he couldn’t say anything because Vega, and all the other Ministers are aware of the fact that the PM is robbing the government ‘s coffers. When you look at LOISE BARROW’S appointment; and her and DENYS representing the GOB in all the legal tangles it finds it self in, we are talking about millions of tax payer’s dollars being paid out to his family and cronies. What was so blatantly corrupt to me was when he was asked about the vacant properties being given out to party faithful, he had nothing to say, his quote was “I see nothing wrong with it”, which is the height of corruption.

  4. Don´t Be Envious says:

    GOB=criminal

    It seems as if you really have something personal against Erwin. Either you know something about the man or you are just another regular laid PUP.

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