PM says despite existing plan, there is not yet a Puerto Azul project
Since its grand introduction on the French Riviera a few weeks ago, to coincide with the 2014 Cannes Film Festival, the Puerto Azul development project, a proposed multimillion dollar tourism initiative to be established within the Lighthouse Reef Atoll, has raised more questions than answers. The conservation community has come out hard against the proposed development, which it contends will pose a direct threat to the habitat of several marine species. Among other questions that have been put forward is the financing of ministers Erwin Contreras and Manuel Heredia’s trip to France where they rubbed shoulders with Hollywood A-listers at the launch of the project. The other pressing concern is whether government has given the project its stamp of approval. Today, Prime Minister Barrow, spoke on the matter briefly, saying that despite an existing plan, there is not yet a Puerto Azul project.
Prime Minister Dean Barrow
“There is no Puerto Azul project. There is this proposal, there is this concept and indeed government has engaged the potential developers about their ideas, but it has not gone beyond that. I know for a fact that, what is the area called, Lighthouse Reef that the Puerto Azul people are not the owners of that property. They have made some sort of an escrow deposit as part of their efforts to try to acquire ownership and by the way, the ownership which is in private hands, had nothing to do with this government. So let us be absolutely clear about that. But they come with a concept, we want foreign investment; we want an investment in tourism. In my view, we are obliged to give them a listen and certainly when I first met them, they had called on me on one occasion some months ago, a lot of what they were describing struck me as absolutely unrealistic and complete wishful thinking and I think I told them that. So even from then, they were sent back to scale down their concept.”
According to the prime minister, there are five critical points which will be used as a barometer for the green lighting of the project.