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Aug 8, 2013

MOU not binding, but tour guides want a piece of NCL pie

Mike Espat

The Sitting was mostly a stone-throwing exercise, but amidst the taunts, heckling and jeering there was a brief moment of agreement between members on different sides of the House. It came over a presentation on the proposed Norwegian Cruise Lines project by member for Toledo East Mike Espat. He listed out some of the concerns which have been raised by residents of the south, and Prime Minister Dean Barrow agreed, stating that some of those concerns have already been addressed, and others are being looked at.

 

Mike Espat, Toledo East Area Representative

“Disposal of waste is another concern raised by the residents of Placencia. How will we get rid of the waste and we still have not had any kind of response from the people that are involved in this project. There was also the exclusivity of traders. We are talking about village councils that belong to the U.D.P. not about village councils that are P.U.P.  This is their concerns that we are making here today. There are over a hundred and ninety tour guides and ninety in Placencia alone registered between Independence and Placencia and they are also concerned. You heard people complaining about the overnight stays in Belize and the cruise ships will affect that. What the tour guides are saying to us today in Placencia is that people with hotels that have overnight stays are not suing their services. These hotels get their own tour guide and they are bypassed and taken out of the big projects and be bypassed again. The concern of the twenty-five years exclusivity, Prime Minister, they are concerned about and I don’t know if you are aware that the Big Creek Port has spent millions of dollars over the past years to create the Big Creek Port that we have today; millions of dollars. And in their business plan, they also have a cruise terminal project for Big Creek. We don’t know if it will be this year or next year, but if these people get twenty-five years exclusivity that is dropping Big Creek. The head tax which is seven dollars U.S. and we understand Prime Minister, I don’t know if it is so, they were asking for a village development plan and they said that you did not agree. I don’t know. I am just reporting on what I was told. What they are asking for is that some of this head tax goes to a village development fund.”

 

Dean Barrow

Prime Minister Dean Barrow

“You have some concerns and everyone that you’ve listed is absolutely genuine. What I want to tell you, though, is that some of the more serious ones have already been taken care of and the others will in due course and the project evolves and as the process evolves.”

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