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Apr 21, 2021

Lord Ashcroft Explains Waterloo Proposal

Last week, the environmental community came out swinging at the Department of Environment which granted environmental clearance to David Gegg’s Port Magical.  They said that Magical will have negative environmental impact, particularly when taken in context with other proposed cruise ship ports. Among these other projects is the Waterloo Holdings proposal.  The plans include onshore berthing for large cruise ships and a bulk handling facility for imports and exports.  The project is awaiting government clearance, and today Lord Michael Ashcroft addressed the economic benefits for Belize City and identified the majority stakeholders in the project. He also responded to a major concern of environmental activists, saying there will be no offshore waste disposal.

 

Lord Michael Ashcroft

“It will create something like two and a half direct and indirect jobs on the southside in Port Loyola and it is a two hundred million US dollar project most of which will be foreign currency. I believe it will be the biggest ever infrastructure project for Belize and at this point the economic cycle, rather brave.”

 

Lord Michael Ashcroft

Marleni Cuellar, Host, Open Your Eyes

“Many look at this project and say do we really need another docking facility?”

 

Lord Michael Ashcroft

“All of these are fair arguments and this is why decisions have to be made. From my personal view, if there is no Waterloo project on one hand there will be a sigh of relief because for me to embark at my age in trying to put together a project of this size is no mean feat but it also important to understand for those who feel a certain animosity towards me personally is that at the end of the day on this project I will only personally have something like twenty or twenty-five percent, the majority will be the international port operators and international investors but if Belize doesn’t want the major cruise, the oasis class to come, that must be a policy decision, because they have made it clear that they will not come to ports in which there is tendering onto the onshore. In Belize it is about sixty percent come ashore because of the tendering and onshore they estimate that ninety percent will come so there will be a greater amount of tourists that will come ashore to be able to spend money and enjoy the country. So, what has happened so far is that the environmentalist have given the go ahead but that is not a sort of government type of approval so time will tell as to what happens.”

 

Marleni Cuellar

“The main pushback has been from the environmental groups who are concerned about this level of impact on the environment?”

 

Lord Michael Ashcroft

“Well, just to get that clear, the environmentalists believe that offshore dumping of the dredging will affect either the reef or the sea at that particular point. In the first instance, Waterloo went around the world to get scientific evidence to demonstrate that this is not necessarily the case. The government has made it clear that politically it is difficult to accept that there will be offshore dumping. Having said that, Waterloo has informed the environmentalists that it can go forward with onshore dumping. So, that is the situation it is at the moment. But clearly there can’t be three ports built but commercial reality will bite in at some point and everyone will go running around having a pop at everybody else.”


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