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Apr 29, 2021

Wil Maheia Supports Nature Conservancy Transaction

Wil Maheia

While the Government and the Opposition clash over the Nature Conservancy transaction, at least one conservationist believes it is a boon for the people of Belize.  He spoke to News Five about how these protected areas are purchased, the tourism revenue they generate, and the management of such areas.


Wil Maheia, Conservationist

“The way I understand, and I have been involved in some of these land transactions before, is that TNC raises the money to buy the land. The land was up for sale. It is private land. TNC buys the land and then donates the land to government and people of Belize. The land is then managed by a trust which is managed by Belizeans. I see it as a win, win situation. First, the land is in Belize. It forms an important part of the Northern Biological Corridor.  The people who will be attracted to this land, who will visit Belize as a result of this land are people who spend nights in hotels. They are not cruise tourism people. They are overnight guests who will come there and walk the trails, who buy at gift shops, eat at the restaurants, who will stay at the hotels, who will fly in and out. So, it is money for the Belizean economy. And I know that there has been an issue about the tax break, but I believe that that tax break will be coming in by millions and millions of dollars by revenue because of the people coming into this area.  Imagine if there were no N.G.O., no conservation N.G.O. in this country, you know what the wage bill for the government will be? It will be a lot higher than it is now. The N.G.O.s fill a gap that should have been filled by the government. But the government do not have to worry about rangers or manager for the Cockscomb Basin which we pride ourselves on when we go to this international convention and we talk about the amount of biodiversity Belize saves. Belize is looked at a leader in the world when it comes to conserving biodiversity.”

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