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Apr 9, 2014

NCL Executives comment on EIA for multimillion dollar tourism project

The top executives of the Norwegian Cruise Lines were in the Jewel today and invited the media to a tour of one of its two ships that called on port. It was sort of a PR Tour organized through the Belize Tourism Board and we’ll have that later in the newscast. But first, time is running out on a demand made by the Belize Tourism Industry Association to the National Environmental Appraisal Committee demanding that it rescind approval of an Environmental Impact Assessment for the Harvest Caye project by NCL. But Colin Murphy, the Vice President of Destination for the cruise lines, says they stand on the EIA and have an international reputation to uphold. As for the head tax, Murphy says it is nothing new.

FOR VIDEO CLICK HERE.

Colin Murphy, V.P. of Destination Development, NCL

Colin Murphy

“It was approved. I don’t know if NEAC voted or went back in consensus. My understanding is that they don’t frequently vote; it is normally they come to a decision by consensus, but we were advised that our EIA is approved and we are moving on to the next step.  We would walk away? No. This is going to happen. We understand that they are not happy; we register their complaints—they are entitled to their opinion. They are entitled to take whatever actions they think is necessary. We don’t agree with them; we think they are wrong and we will persevere. And as the prime minister said in the house, this is going to happen…get use to it. We believe that.  They feel, the B.T.I.A., that they have concerns over this project and they are expressing those concerns appropriately I assume to the department of the environment who will respond. Again we can only stand on the work that we’ve done and the science that we have and our own reputation and equipment to do this the right way. I don’t know how else I can address that particular issue. Of course we will respect the laws of Belize…it is very likely the operating standards that we use will be far higher than those used by other businesses and stakeholders in Belize. We have an international reputation to protect as we’ve considered ourselves to be stewards of the ocean. We take this very seriously and it would be very foolish of us to we ignore that…if we ignore that it will be at our peril because our passengers are very conscious; our passengers come to Belize and more and more now they are educated and know what Belize is and they understand the fact that the environment is fragile. So we are going to respect the laws of Belize, we are going to exceed their expectations in terms of the environment and we will always do that no matter where we are. The arrangement that we have with the government is the one that they brought to us, which is the same arrangement, my understanding is that the Fort Street Tourism Village has or the other project in Stake Bank will have. This is not something that we’ve invented all of a sudden to make sure that we are profiting immensely from this. This is the system that you have in place in Belize and so we were abiding by the system that is in place by Belize. It is not us coming in and twisting arms and pushing people around.”

 

So far, approximately ten to twelve million dollars has been spent in the purchase of the island, equipment and architectural design. 

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5 Responses for “NCL Executives comment on EIA for multimillion dollar tourism project”

  1. Simon says:

    At last-now let the work begin and the jobs and taxes roll in for Gods sake. BTIA trying to drag this out until the next election so government looks bad? as it is its going to be about 2 years before anything happens.

  2. venus says:

    Aren’t these promises familiar? Remember Fortes/ BEL promises of energy sufficiency, safety in place in case of dam breaks. Regular testing for mercury in river. Even after the hostile takeover of BEL by GOB they are still not in place. These companies like politicians make promises they are fully committed not to put in place.

  3. Mr. C says:

    Hopefully they can and will stop the destructive project before too much damage is done to the reef and reputation and Belize, because ncl will be what spoils us. No jobs there, or at least not enough to make it worth it.

  4. punkgial says:

    Any foreign company is not interested in the people of Belize or the country,they are interested in the profit they will make along with the politicians. Like the Chinese,they do nothing for the country and people of Belize.

  5. Hatari says:

    Just another scam by big business and corrupt politicians. Anyone who believes that this will bring in jobs and income is just fooling themselves. How stupid can you be?

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