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Aug 14, 2013

NCL gets larger share of tax and amends EIA for different development

The Norwegian Cruise Line press conference pulled out a surprise announcement from Colin Murphy, NCL’s Vice President of Destination and Strategic Development. NCL would not only hire a thousand Belizeans, but they would also hire Belizeans to work on the new ships in development. Murphy also brought along a former employee of Florida’s Disney. NCL intends to craft  a story of Belize. Jose Sanchez reports.

 

Jose Sanchez Reporting

The Norwegian Cruise Line MOU has been signed. The minister in charge of negotiating the deal, Godwin Hulse began today’s press conference by dismissing the groups that have criticized NCL’s investment in Belize.

 

Godwin Hulse, Chairman, Cabinet Subcommittee

Godwin Hulse

“Cruise lines trash and trample has become a term synonymous with cruise tourism because they are going to mash up the place and destroy the reef, throw garbage, etc. But I would wonder where would be that fool—and please quote me—where would be that fool who would invest a hundred million dollars to destroy the very thing that they hope to make money from. I would say to them why yon oh just give me the money and be done with it. That would be the way to go. So clearly it is a partnership that envisage the beauty of Belize, the wonders of our country that people want to come to see.”

 

Hulse believes that the NCL investment can impact investment in the south as he explained in one of his stories about Europeans visiting the country.

 

Godwin Hulse

“A beautiful archeological site, for this beautiful road going to Jalacte I passed, and I saw tourists there. Tourist could not be undertaken by anybody from the Mayan community. And so I asked myself…How is it that others, European and others could be showing the world how the great and native Mayas lived and the descendants of the Mayas have no part of that. I said something is wrong with this equation; it should be them showing the world how their ancestors lived. And that is what we aim to fix. Because there is no way that we should have all these wonderful things in the south and the people in the south live in such object poverty.

 

Colin Murphy

Colin Murphy, Vice President, Destination &Strategic Development, NCL

“We have twelve ships currently, but we are going through a quite significant new build program. We just had one for the Norwegian breakaway which will carry up to I guess four thousand, two to three hundred passengers and that ship is going to be sailing year ‘round from New York. Then we have another one coming in January, just around the corner, the Norwegian Getaway. This is a substantial new built program for us so we want this project for us to be Belizean. We don’t want it to look like a Mexican port; we want it to be unique; to have a sense of place. That when you leave, you know where you’ve been…you’ve been somewhere unique and special and that’s what a vacation is about. We need to make sure that it has a long term access so that we know that we can bring our ships for many years to come.”

 

The port will tell stories of Belize. A former art director for Disney will craft the island’s personality with minimum impact.

 

Hugh Darley, Art Director, NCL Tourism Project

Hugh Darley

“One of the stories that we are going to tell is that of the Garifuna and the fact that there is a unique story to tell about this part of the world that is not being told somewhere else. So the style, the language, the culture, the history; the connection to the Mayan history and prehistory of Central America; the story of people in way stations and islands in  the Caribbean and how trade and commerce happened. Cruising is really just that again and if you take an old map from out of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Those same ports today are the cruise ports of modern day tourism. And what we want to do is put this location back on the map as part of the tourism must see in the western Caribbean. Our fourth item on here is the island already currently has a permit for development; it was a development for a resort destination. Our plan that we are going to show you today is only twenty percent of that approved destination impact.   If you’ve ever been to any of the eco-parks; if you’ve been somewhere like Xcaret, Mexico, it is built in the environment and it looks like it was always there. Our idea is when you get off this ship; you’d think this island has always looked the way that it looks. What are we doing different from the original? Well there is certainly no airport, we are going to put in the floating dock, we’re gonna have raised platforms and open air structures. Very little air-conditioned space on the island…most all of it is opened air construction. The footprints like I said, there is only a couple of buildings that we need to actually facilitate…some of the backup house, the infrastructure that we need. We are going to generate our own power, we are also going to have our own well; we are going to develop our own water system. And we are going to treat our own sanitary sewer on the island. All of the trash goes back—as Colin says it is all recycled—all of the cans go back on the ship. We are working with the glass company. We are probably gonna chip and use our own glass and do glass art as demonstration art on the island. Any of the wet garbage is the only thing that goes off the island and that’s anywhere between fifty and a hundred and fifty gallons of what we call garbage. That’s things like banana peels and orange peels and things that you don’t incinerate. And then all of that goes back on the ship. So no hard garbage or no grey garbage will be left on the island at all.”

 

And in that place there will be jobs and possibly more on the seas with NCL.

 

Colin Murphy

“Up to a thousand jobs—direct and indirect jobs—related to this project. But the problem is that the product won’t be ready and operating for maybe next two years. So we won’t be hiring people for those things apart from construction people for some time. So we were thinking about so what can we do to move that forward to demonstrate that we are a good partner and bring in opportunity rather sooner than later. So I did a check on how many Belizeans we have on our fleet, working on our ships. One of our biggest ships has sixteen hundred and fifty crew; on one of the smaller ship, there is eleven hundred crew. So we have thousands and thousands of folks raising their families and providing for their families based on employment on our ships. And we had ten from Belize. So we felt that is something that we can do something about. So what we are doing is implementing a crew recruitment program in Belize with a focus on the south. We are going to hire thousands and thousands of crew—remember we were saying about all the new ships that we are building. So we gotta find maybe eight thousand crew members over the next few years—no they are not all gonna come from Belize, but we think we can create some great jobs for people and some great opportunities for people. We are very good at this.”

 

Reporting for News Five, Jose Sanchez.

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2 Responses for “NCL gets larger share of tax and amends EIA for different development”

  1. bzean says:

    Mr. Hulse, dat fool has already left the last place he had his cruise ships and made big profits (millions) and now is coming here to do the same..

  2. Belizean says:

    @bzean We need pro’s in this country, ok? These people are experienced, and Belize is bound to gain by it

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