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Sep 27, 2012

FECTAB says it did not vandalize Chukka’s equipment

It is no secret that Chukka Belize and FECTAB have been at odds for some time. The latest row is over a rappelling platform built by Chukka at Caves Branch which has been vigorously criticized by FECTAB. A few days ago the platform was sabotaged, but who would want to compromise the personal safety of visitors and locals who use the site? News Five’s Jose Sanchez has both sides of the issue.


Jose Sanchez, Reporting

This past weekend, someone cut safety lines, a rope barrier and metal support for a platform and started a small fire near Chukka’s facility for the Nohoch Che’en rappelling activity.


Valerie Woods

Valerie Woods, Country Manager, Chukka

“There was a portion of the stairways that lead to the entrance of crystal cave that was burnt.”


Jose Sanchez

“Now people will natural assume that it is your competitor. Are you blaming anyone for those damages?”


Valerie Woods

“No, obviously an investigation is underway as the government’s press release has stated. We are not in the business of blaming, Jose. We are a business and this company has been investing in Belize for the past eight years or so. It is most disappointing and unfortunate. Right now we are interested in making sure that our tours and all elements of it are carried out safely. We want to make sure that we can get our ultimate adventure tour back up and running as quickly as possible. We are not surprised obviously that this could have occurred because there has been much talk about the rappel must come down and it is a danger. And it hasn’t been. And so I guess some few clever people thought they should do this on their own to demonstrate.”


The Federation of Cruise Tourism Association of Belize which has been publicly at odds with Chukka denies being responsible for the vandalism.


Jose Sanchez

Tom Greenwood

“Are you responsible? That’s what people would assume since you have an issue with Chukka.”


Tom Greenwood, President, FECTAB

“Absolutely not. Our directive from the very beginning is let us do everything legally and we totally and completely and categorically condemn any kind of illegal act; any act of violence whatsoever. Moreover, I’d like to say that we have gotten countrywide and even international support for the cause which we believe is right.”


Jose Sanchez

“You must realize though that the beneficiary of this supposed destruction would have been FECTAB. Clearly a supporter of your cause may have been responsible; only your group could have benefitted from this.”


David Almendarez

David Almendarez, FECTAB

“We don’t believe only our group can benefit from this; we believe it is counterproductive to our cause. We have overwhelming support that says David, FECTAB is doing a wonderful job; we are glad that you guys are bringing the attention. This totally puts us in the back seat. We in no way condone this type of thing; it is not our business to do this type of stuff. We do not want this to be a deterrent from the fact that we still want the platform to be removed. We believe all this is sad, but all this; we need to come back to the table and stick to the point that we want the platform removed—it should not be there. Dialogue needs to be done. We’re hearing reports that they are going to bring an engineer to build it right back. All this is bad faith.”


Valerie Woods

“The ultimate adventure tour; we have our technical people coming in today. They are also meeting with the technical people from NICH so I am optimistic that based on our safety officer on the ground, observation on the extent of it that  we should be able to be up by next week.”


Via social online media, on Sunday, Tom Greenwood used his Facebook page to speak about CHUKKA’s rappelling activity and used the words “flame of preservation”, and a “playing field burning in the cruise tourism sector”, very heated words on the heels of a fire at Chukka’s platform.  Reporting for News Five, Jose Sanchez.

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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1 Response for “FECTAB says it did not vandalize Chukka’s equipment”

  1. PG Man says:

    Could it be that Chukka had someone do this, so they can point the finger at Fectab. If that’s the case then I think Chukka has something else plan. let wait and see.

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