ACRE Dredging has been on Ambergris Caye conducting dredging on two dredging permits for many years. Of recent, their operation has come under sustained criticisms in both the local press and social media to the point that they are moving ahead with taking legal actions for defamatory statements made against them. One of the business partners invited members of the press last week to look at their operations. Our San Pedro Correspondent Jorge Aldana has the details in the following report.
Jorge Aldana, San Pedro Correspondent: These heavy machinery giving year round maintenance to the over 7 miles of the Southern road on Ambergris Caye is part of the contractual agreement made with Acre Dredging Company on Ambergris Caye with the San Pedro Town Council. In addition they also provide constant donation for filling to the schools as well as 10% of all dredging material is given to the municipality for the use of the dredging permits. Those materials are used for the regular maintenance of other streets on the island. For the local authorities it is a major help to the municipality especially in light that in the absence of those mechanisms the local authority would be forced to purchase materials and pay for regular maintenance of those streets. But with all that Acre Dredging Company says that they have been under constant target by a few part time residents who they say are defaming their credibility. Carlos Jex is one of the business partners of Acre Dredging Company and said that their company has had enough of those misinformation.
Carlos Jex, Acre Dredging: “First when we set up shop there to start dredging we were adjacent to their property and we had gotten their consent and permission via letter they signed in agreement for us to dredge. The agreement entailed that we would be compensating them by filling their land free of cost which we did in a time of probably one month we filled their properties and they were happy with it and we continued doing our dredging. Eventually after a couple months they decided they wanted us out of there. They said that we were making too much noise and we were destroying the seabed around their property, around their piers which is not true- we were all the way out probably forty feet out dredging, we were not allowed to come close to the pier and so all this was not true. We have always maintained silt curtain, always. Damaging of pier, again that is not true we were not even close to their pier there is no way we could have damaged their pier so I don’t know where they get that kind of information from as to why they would make any kind of allegation like that. Again these people do not reside here, they do six months in Belize and six months back home. We have over thirty people working for us, we have these people they have to survive and this company that we work for has to provide for these families. So like I said why they would want to make those allegations against us seeing that they had already gotten what they wanted from us now they will prefer to see us leave. “
Jorge Aldana, San Pedro Correspondent: According to Jex, annually their donation to the town amounts to over $200,000.
Carlos Jex, Acre Dredging: “The town benefits from our company. If you look right now we have invested over $200,000 in the southern road to fix the road, that road had never ever over seven or eight years that we have traversed that orad we have never seen that road the way it is today and that is at our expense over $20,000 we have invested into that road. We have brought all our heavy equipment and done and maintained the road, every two to three weeks we have maintained that road with our graders and rollers so most everybody that live down south are very happy with what we have done so like I said there are only two to three people that are making all these fuss about our dredging operation down south.”
Jorge Aldana, San Pedro Correspondent: Acre Dredging Company has indicated that if the defamation against their company continues they will be taking legal recourse.