Commerce Bight back to the People Print E-mail
( 1 Vote )
Written by Administrator   
Thursday, 22 August 2013 00:00

Commerce Bight PierIt has been quite a while in the making but sure enough, the Commerce Bight Port is back in the hands of Belizeans. The Government of Belize made the announcement last week Friday, August 16th. In a release by the Ministry of Works stated that an order was signed by the Minister of Works revoking a lease granted to the Port of Belize Limited to operate and manage the Commerce Bight Port. It added that arrangements were being made to take possession and control of the Port.

Three main factors were stated as being reasons for the repossession of the port. The first was that the Port of Belize Limited had failed to submit a development plan to carry out any development work on the facilities. Secondly, the company failed to operate and manage as well as to do maintenance work on the facility including the dredging of the channel and the dock basin. Thirdly PBL had failed to pay lease rental to the Government.      

The takeover has been long in the making as the government had made attempts to revoke the lease from as early as March 19th 2008, when notice was served that the lease would have been revoked. The Ports of Belize immediately took action and applied for and was given an injunction restraining the then Minister, Hon. Melvin Hulse from executing. That injunction was maintained until July 20th, 2012 when it was discharged by the Supreme Court. 

The wheels of progress are now in motion to revitalize the south and the Government will be seeking international funding to bring back the port to operational standards. It had gone into disrepair and inactivity shortly after it was taken over by the Ports of Belize Limited in 2002. At the time the entire deal stunk to high heaven but the PUP government still went ahead and sold both the port in Belize City and the one in Dangriga. It was not long before all activity at the commerce bight came to a screeching halt with the compound being sealed off and even residents of Dangriga who had grown accustomed to going on the pier head to fish were barred from doing so.

With the government's take over it is expected that in a short while, commercial activity will return to the port and employment and business will once again be re-established at this very important port of trade.