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Feb 5, 2019

A Second Look at What’s Happening in Turneffe

A recent trip to the Turneffe Atoll shows that there is large scale development in areas within the cluster of islands that are considered private property.  Despite the acreages being individually held, there are issues of lack of environmental compliance, particularly where the building of massive commercial structures are concerned.  Tonight, we look at the second of a two-part story on the Turneffe Atoll.  News Five’s Isani Cayetano reports.


Isani Cayetano, Reporting

Development continues on the Turneffe Islands, despite efforts by advocacy groups to have existing environmental regulations enforced.  On Monday, we ventured out to a location within the atoll where significant dredging has taken place during the construction of what appears to be a private resort.


Alex Anderson

Alex Anderson, Executive Director, Turneffe Atoll Trust

“When you look at the scope of both projects, we have a National Sustainable Tourism Master Plan that speaks to the type of development that our government and policymakers want to have in terms of the tourism industry going forward.  Hakimi‘s development project is one that is a little bit over a hundred rooms.  It is extremely difficult to see that fitting into the scheme of the tourism development master plan because of the size, the scope, the way the project went about.  The project started and basically it went through as a residential development, they just went through and continued to build and build, didn‘t have and still have not done a full Environmental Impact Assessment, but still the development is there and they are still building.”


By Contrast, Turneffe Flats Resort which is on the eastern seaboard of the Blackbird Caye has gone about its development in an environmentally compliant and friendly manner.


Alex Anderson

“In terms of looking of looking at Turneffe Flats Resort, we need to think about three things.  One, I want you to think about size and scale, Hakimi’s is a hundred and six rooms.  Turneffe Flats is roughly about, I think it can hold twenty-eight clients.  So that‘s a big difference.  Two, in terms of dealing with the solid waste, we will get an opportunity to walk through the bio-systems that are in place at Turneffe Flats for their development, in terms of dealing with their solid waste and waste generated from the atoll in terms of the development.”


Development aside, there is a greater need for Belizeans to appreciate value of the Turneffe Atoll in respect of its economic importance.


Valentino Shal

Valentino Shal, Consultant, Turneffe Atoll Trust

“I think Belizeans in general are aware of the treasure that we have out here.  I don‘t know if they are fully aware of the numbers.  I know that Belizeans appreciate the environment, they appreciate the Turneffe Atoll and want to make sure that it‘s taken care of, but I don‘t think that a lot of people are fully aware of the economic value that it currently generates for us.  So in this area, this is a very large conch and lobster fishery area and we export those products and our local fishermen who harvest in this area benefit from that, from income and employment.  So that‘s a huge benefit that comes from this natural capital.”


Reporting for News Five, I am Isani Cayetano.

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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