No Cruise Tourism at Crawl Caye - NCL exploring Other Options Print E-mail
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Written by Shane D. Williams   
Thursday, 06 June 2013 00:00

Prime Minister Barrow announced on Wednesday, June 5th, that Cabinet had informed Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) that “In the form in which it was being proposed, Crawl Caye as a site for cruise tourism development will not work”.

A Cabinet sub-committee was appointed to look into a proposal made by NCL for the introduction of cruise tourism to southern Belize. That sub-committee is comprised of Hon. Manuel Heredia Jr., Minister of Tourism and Culture; Hon. Erwin Contreras, Minister of Trade; Hon. Santino Castillo, Minister of Economic Development; Hon. Lisel Alamilla, Minister of Forestry, Fisheries and Sustainable Development; and chaired by Hon. Godwin Hulse, Minister of Labour. Hulse explained that any such investment approved in Belize must satisfy five parameters: “The first being that it should be socially economically acceptable and legally doable. Two, it should bring some revenue to the government of Belize. Three, it should bring some meaningful employment. I don’t mean the minimum wage employment; I mean at the higher level. Four, it should bring some foreign exchange. Five, it should preserve the environment and possibly enhance it. If those criteria and parameters are met then we are good to go.”

A technical team was appointed to look into the details of NCL’s proposal to determine how it would impact Belize in terms of those five parameters. That team made presentations to the sub-committee on Monday, June 3rd, and the sub-committee reported to Cabinet on Tuesday, June 4th. Cabinet issued a release on Wednesday, June 5th, which states that Cabinet had accepted the recommendation from its technical team that “Crawl Caye in the Southern Waters cannot be developed as a cruise terminal because of numerous environmental considerations”. However, Prime Minister Barrow told the media Wednesday, “NCL is interested in looking at other possibilities in the south of Belize so I stress that we have not said a blanket ‘no’ to any potential development for cruise tourism in the south at all.”

Prime Minister Barrow strongly disagrees with those who say that cruise tourism in the South would hurt Belize City. He said, “We do not accept that there can be any blanket prohibition on the development of cruise tourism in southern Belize.” He continued, “We made clear to NCL from the start that if the project were ever to see the light of day, the site would be limited to hosting calls only to ships from NCL.” Prime Minister Barrow believes that the NCL investment would provide a much needed economic boost for the people of the South and Government is obliged to actively listen. On May 30th he said, “Norwegian is talking about an investment of possibly a hundred million dollars, at least in my view, given the need for employment especially in the need for opportunities, government must have the conversation that it is having with Norwegian.”

Though the opponents of cruise tourism in southern Belize have been very vocal, they are in fact the minority. The residents of southern Belize seem extremely willing to welcome cruise visitors to their communities and the Placencia Tour Guide Association has expressed its support for the proposal to Prime Minister Barrow.

Last Updated on Thursday, 06 June 2013 12:10