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Apr 2, 2014

B.T.I.A. threatens court action for faulty EIA done for NCL Project

The Norwegian Cruise Lines tourism project ran into stiff opposition from the get go from stakeholders in the south who support pocket tourism as opposed to mass tourism. The controversial project by NCL at Harvest Caye cleared one more hurdle when the National Environmental Appraisal Committee gave its stamp of approval, but it has run into another roadblock. That’s because the Belize Tourism Industry Association is calling for the suspension of NEAC’s approval. B.T.I.A. is citing numerous areas in which the NEAC failed to comply with EIA Regulations. News Five Isani Cayetano has that story.

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Isani Cayetano, Reporting

The proposed development of a multimillion dollar port of call on Harvest Caye faces yet another drawback, following a demand made on behalf of the Belize Tourism Industry Association to have the National Environmental Appraisal Committee, NEAC, suspend the recent approval of an environmental impact assessment.  Failure to respond within the next two weeks will result in legal action being taken against NEAC.  Since introducing the project in 2013, Norwegian Cruise Line has faced pertinent objections to the plan from stakeholders in the industry.  In early March, the committee, led by Chief Environmental Officer Martin Alegria, met to discuss the study and the Department of the Environment subsequently green lighted the EIA for the development project.  That meeting was held following reports of an indefinite delay of NEAC hearings, since the EIA presented was a previous assessment for another project planned for Harvest Caye.  Nonetheless, concerns are once again being raised and there are charges that NEAC and the Department of the Environment’s decisions are rife with procedural errors.

 

In a letter written by Senior Counsel Godfrey Smith to the Chief Environmental Officer, several omissions are highlighted, including failure to consider whether or not to recommend a public hearing as required by the EIA Regulations and failure to publish a notice concerning the addendum for two consecutive weeks.  Most importantly, NEAC and the DOE approved an assessment which failed to comply with at least eight primary requirements under the EIA Regulations.  The environmental impact assessment also fell short of measuring how dredging deep marine channels so close to the shoreline would impact the integrity of coastal groundwater resources, as well as to satisfactorily list the biological resources that would be impacted by the project.

 

BTIA, according to Smith, is, quote, understandably interested in ensuring, at the very least, a development project that has attracted this amount of public controversy and which flies in the face of the National Tourism Master Plan, should fully comply with the environmental laws of Belize. Reporting for News Five, I am Isani Cayetano.

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3 Responses for “B.T.I.A. threatens court action for faulty EIA done for NCL Project”

  1. Concerned says:

    dis da weh di PM want and money done change hand fi dis! good luck, btia.

  2. I Belize, Ali Babarrow is the head thief says:

    faulty?

    that is by design! Duh!

  3. reallybelize says:

    If this Barrow Administration had any integrity all, and if the PUP and environmental opposition can get their act together, the People of Belize should demand that any and all Environmental Impact Studies be published on-line so people can download and read the reports using a PDF format. Everyone has Adobe on their computers. These resources belong to the people. If you screw this up in the south, you’re going to create one hell of a mess in some beautiful pristine areas. Transparency, remember? That’s a dirty word with Belize politicians.

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