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Feb 12, 2019

Concerns Continue to Mount over Margaritaville in Bacalar Chico

The fisheries department is looking into a proposed multimillion-dollar tourism project within a delimited area. As we reported on Monday, Margaritaville, a mega investment by the Jimmy Buffett group, has announced that the resort is smack within the Bacalar Chico Marine Reserve on the north end of Ambergris Caye. The proposal has raised eyebrows even as the investor is preparing to meet with the cabinet investment subcommittee shortly. Today, News Five asked C.E.O. in the Ministry of Environment, Doctor Percival Cho about the project and whether environmental clearance has been sought.


Percival Cho

Dr. Percival Cho, C.E.O., Ministry of Environment

“The Fisheries Administrator mentioned it to me a couple days ago and we are looking into it. I would have to get back to you with the information on the particular development. One comment that I can give at this point is whenever we hear development in a protected area, we have to realize that some times, the land was established before the protected area was there or it forms part of an enclave. So it is not necessarily that a development is occurring inside a protected area; it might be on a piece of private land within a general delimited area. I understand that this is one of the case. Bacalar Chico is part of the World Heritage System and there is a responsibility or a requirement, as I understand it, for the country to report, make an assessment of developments within or around this World Heritage Site. So in this context, we are looking into it to get more details. Any undertaking in Belize of a certain scale, size or location requires environmental clearance. I can tell you off the bat that the Environmental Impact Regulations require any development around near to or inside protected areas to require an environmental impact assessment. So this proposed activity, whatever is being proposed by the developers, those details will have to be provided to the Department of Environment if they haven’t done so yet—like I said, I would have to check on that—and the Department of Environment will make a recommendation as to what type of E.I.A. is required and what all must be done.”

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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