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Jun 21, 2019

Tourism Minister Says Cayo Rosario Surrounded with ‘Huge Amount of Marine Life’

A Supreme Court ruling in May has the Ambergris Caye Citizens for Sustainable Development ready to protect Cayo Rosario. The island sits in the middle of the Hol Chan Marine Reserve which is considered the number one of tourist attraction that Ambergris Caye has to offer. The group is strongly opposed to an approved multimillion dollar tourism development project. Located off the west coast of Ambergris Caye, Cayo Rosario is a six-acre island rich in both terrestrial and marine life. In 2015, the tiny landmass and the surrounding areas were determined to be critical to Ambergris Caye, and its flats fishing industry, delicate shoals, and flats were included in the expansion of the HolChan Marine Reserve called The Cayo Rosario Conservation Zone. While the island is privately owned, it is part of the reserve and the group believes that the mega infrastructure development will cause irreversible economic and environmental damages. The matter was taken before the courts and the Supreme Court denied the group’s application for judicial review. The group says that the recent court ruling is disheartening but will not deter them from moving forward towards their goal which is to halt any development that can cause irreparable damage to the environment. When asked about it, Minister of Tourism Manuel Heredia Junior, who is also the area representative, said that he does not believe that the environmental assessment carried out to determine the marine life in the area was done correctly.


Manuel Heredia Jr.

Manuel Heredia Jr., Minister of Tourism

“I didn’t think that he did a very good job because there is huge amount of marine life over there. Not too many birds as before because they chopped quite a bit of the bush that was around. But when you talk about marine life there is a huge amount of marine life over there. I have no problem in development on the land, I would support it a hundred percent but anytime when it talks about probably destroying or causing damage to our species over there as a former fisherman I have a personal problem with that.”



“So how do you see this divide being bridge because obviously the investor wants the development? You are the Minister of Tourism but you are not the Department of Environment. If D.O.E. is saying that they have the go ahead what would happen? Do you sit down with the other members of Cabinet?”


Manuel Heredia Jr.

“Let me say this, that the Department of Environment or NEAC that they decided to give the green light there was practically no consultation directly with me as the minister responsible for tourism, as the area representative in charge of that area. Very little from the development, practically no conversation except, I am presenting a plan. I didn’t even get the final report of the person who did the D.O.E. assessment. So at this stage I cannot be blame in what I believe in today.”

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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