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May 30, 2013

P.M. says Placencia tour guides want Norwegian Cruise Line in peninsula

Dean Barrow

Earlier in the newscast, you heard Healthy Reef opposing the Norwegian Cruise Line’s interest in Crawl Caye. That mega tourism project also elicited a response from the Prime Minister at today’s press conference. The PM said that there is no contract with NCL and there is no final deal. But the government can’t ignore a proposal that would include an investment of over a hundred million dollars and also provide jobs for locals. As to the response that the BTIA, FECTAB and Healthy Reef Initiative are all against the project, Barrow says that there is a tour guide group in  Placencia that welcomes NCL to the Peninsula.


Prime Minister Dean Barrow

“I’ve had a letter from Placencia Tour Guides Association and I think they appended to that letter a petition with a number of signatures. The thrust of that letter is that they fully support the Crawl Caye Project and that the village according to them in the large majority supports the Crawl Caye Project. In informal conversation with one of the officials from that organization, there is a feeling that the big hoteliers have their all-inclusive resorts: they do their own touring, they do their own dive, and there set and it is wonderful. And we all certainly rejoice over the fact that overnight tourism is surging. But they think that there is a lot that they can get out of cruise tourism. Norwegian is talking about an investment of possibly a hundred million dollars. At least I my view, given the need for employment especially in that area, given the need for opportunities, government must have the conversation that it is having with Norwegian. Given then location of Crawl Caye, cabinet insisted that the relevant ministries do the proper assessment to ensure that we could even do the project there. And that if we could in what ways the project would have to be limited. I hear B.T.I.A. saying that this is going to be a kind of free for all; Norwegian brings hundreds and hundreds of cruise passengers in their big ships. Well if we go ahead, one of the limitations might be that you can only bring a small ship. So what I have to say ultimately is please, I don’t think the B.T.I.A. ought to get ahead of itself. I understand that they want to signal from now their opposition, but government will take on board their point of view, government will take on board the point of view of any number of persons including the Placencia Tour Guides Association and in particular, the advice of the technical people. There is concern I see that B.T.I.A. raised in terms of heritage location and that sort of thing. There is no way that we are going to move in a precipitous fashion on this thing.  I don’t know whether we will move at all, but the conversation must occur because you simply don’t just turn away this potentially huge investment without making absolutely sure that this cannot happen in the larger scheme of things. I don’t know that I have seen the terms of any MOU. I don’t…there is a subcommittee. There may have been a draft MOU; certainly no MOU has been brought to cabinet. But if it has gone beyond the draft state, it can’t be more than just a MOU, a Memorandum of Understanding; it can’t be any contract, it can’t contain obligations at all. The cabinet subcommittee would never do that and if they did, government would reject that sort of thing.”


Jose Sanchez

“It also makes reference to hiring foreign workers; it doesn’t make reference to the need to hire locals.”


Prime Minister Dean Barrow

“Well Jose I am telling you that if an MOU exists that is by no means the last word and that can have no contractual obligations; can have no legal standing. That was not the remit of the Cabinet Sub-Committee is not to enter into any kind of a binding obligation. As far as I know the process is nowhere near the point where cabinet can make a decision as to whether proceed. I also heard that this may be good to go as early as next week. Absolutely not true.”

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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8 Responses for “P.M. says Placencia tour guides want Norwegian Cruise Line in peninsula”

  1. lisa carne says:

    the Placencia Tour Guide Association did NOT send in a letter of support for crawl caye! Over a year ago they wrote a letter supporting smaller ‘pocket tourism’. HOWEVER there is a newly formed Placencia Tour Guide Cooperative, that may have sent such letter and the PM confused the two organizations

  2. tim says:

    those signature are fake .. can’t take this PM!

  3. lisa carne says:

    and the petition the PM refers to was regarding pocket cruise tourism: nothing to do with crawl caye!

  4. Placencia Resident says:

    The petition to which the Prime Minister is referring was for POCKET cruise ship tourism (fewer than 300 passengers) and concerned a specific proposal by Damien Chamberlain. Further, the petition (and I have seen it) was rambling, 5 pages long, and very confusing – many people have said that they signed it thinking they were signing a petition AGAINST cruise ship tourism.. In addition, that petition was circulated almost a year ago, so it could not have been addressing Crawl Caye.

    Further, the only formal announcement ever made by the Placencia Tour Guide Association said that PTGA might be in favor of pocket cruise ship tourism, but was definitely NOT in favor of mass cruise ship tourism.

    And, around November or December of last year (2012), PTGA was invited to discuss the issue (along with Chamberlain), but refused, saying it would be discussing the issue with the entire Placencia Village at a Village Council meeting – that never happened.

    Something is rotten here and I call on the PTGA to explain these discrepancies and to issue a FORMAL announcement of their position to all of us – not just a private letter written to the Prime Minister by who knows who for what knows what reason (although we all can guess, I’m sure).

  5. Placencia Resident says:

    The Prime Minister should also make this letter public.

  6. cucu says:

    deal done

  7. Storm says:

    “I don’t know that I have seen the terms of any MOU.” Somebody’s lying — if an MOU exists, there is no credible doubt that Dean Oliver has seen it and helped create it; if no MOU exists, then why did GOB announce there was one?

    That’s the typical problem with a government that likes to hide its agreements, or write them with disappearing ink — everyone is afraid to be held to account, because they know what they agree to is bad for everyone but themselves.

  8. Plato says:

    Come on Lisa, are you insinuating that the local Placencia residents are not smart enough to have their own opinions? Please, girl! You expats are only looking out for your own interest. Why would you use those hollow arguments to deny the local small villages an opportunity to make an honest living. This is not about a small insignificant island and its ecosystem, this is about expat dominated control of the peninsula that the expats don’t want to give up.

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