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Jul 1, 2004

Zabaneh defends Caracol deal

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The man identified in last night’s newscast as the key player in a proposal to privately develop Belize’s largest Maya archaeological site has strongly defended the project and his involvement in it. In a press release today businessman Eugene Zabaneh referred to his proposal for Caracol as being “in the spirit of national development with the aim of offering something unique and special to our tourist visitors.” Claiming that some published reports on the project were misleading, Zabaneh made clear that under any scenario the government of Belize would be fully in control of the site. He went on to note that the majority of Maya sites in the region have benefitted from private sector investments such as hotels, restaurants, and other services and he looks forward to government’s decision on which private investor has the best proposal for Caracol.

When contacted for comment, one Cayo innkeeper replied that while the private sector is involved in hotels and restaurants at virtually every archaeological attraction, he knows of no ancient Maya site anywhere in the region in which government has turned over the nation’s cultural heritage to any private profit seeking developer, let alone twenty-five square miles for a period of ninety-nine years as proposed by Mr. Zabaneh.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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