The Government of Belize on Tuesday issued a statement on the state of cruise tourism in Belize. In the lengthy statement, the Government discussed the Stake Bank Port, spearheaded by the Feinstein Group, and plans to build two causeways. GOB announced that a review is underway, which started with a briefing to the Cabinet by the Chief Environmental Officer, Martin Alegria after questions were raised about the location of an environmental compliance plan for the causeway connecting Stake Bank to mainland Belize City. More than that, in its statement on October 19, Government said that it considers the causeways and the development on Northern Drowned Caye to be real-estate related and not foundational to cruise tourism. However, Port Coral’s principals say the statement had glaring errors. According to Tom Greenwood, Sr. PR for the Port and FECTAB’s President Emeritus, says that these errors are not only vexing but should not have been presented to the Cabinet nor the public.
Tom Greenwood Sr, Public Relations, Port Coral: “When this piece of paper was taken to the Cabinet of Belize last Monday by and appointed, not an elected, an appointed minister of government that said erroneous things to make Port Coral look bad. We all at FECTAB began to seethe with anger. We were angry because of what was being said but what was being said would cost all of us the ability to get to those islands and carry on with our work the way we should, the way foreign elements come and get it and I sat there thinking ‘Oh my God I hope we don’t lose it here.’ Anyway we’re fighting for it. The erroneous things are sort of two big things. They’re talking about Port Coral didn’t have an EIA NIAC contract for this and the other well let them carry that as far as they want because the documentation is right there but the big one is that they can’t succeed there but they’re trying to tell people that the small island of Stake bank, tiny little island you can’t do nothing but meet people and send them on, has nothing to do with North Drowned Caye. State Bank oblique stroke Port Coral has everything to do with Drowned Caye because that’s where the people disembark, they’re introduced to whoever is going to handle them and all of that and then there’s’ a causeway to drive them over to the North Drowned Caye where the big terminal is where they meet the operators and all that and from there a cause way to the land to Belize City and off they go.”
Greenwood insists that North Drowned Caye is a critical part of Port Coral’s operations because it will feature important infrastructure and job-creating opportunities.
Tom Greenwood Sr, Public Relations, Port Coral: “That causeway will be two laned, it will be sixty feet in the air. Passage for boats underneath will be easy. I just thought you know my goodness you look at those causeways in Florida they’re stupendous, they’re fabulous, they’re game changers. The ordinary common man has profited from that. What to do you think is going to happen when those two causeways are built? It’s going to help marine life. Manatee that we’re all worried about, and rightly so, are going to find shelter under those things. They’re going to find shelter. Marine life will start teaming around those posts. The shallow water fisherman as we used to like call them – I know because I was one during my college days – we paddled right down in Dorey right in front of Belize City bring our big snappers and everything and that’s what these shallow water people used to do. Because so many of them are there they got to go further and further on. Those two causeways are going to end up being a bedlam of life. A bedlam of life and it’s going to change the very heart of cruise tourism, it will change the very heart. Now they said that the North Drowned Caye is a real estate development, it has nothing to do with – you know I’ll tell you something the world may think you to be a fool.”
Greenwood also told us that that FECTAB supports the Port Coral initiative because it will provide jobs to its members and local Belizeans as a whole and Port Coral has signed a 25-year contract ensuring that local guides, operators, cab drivers and even hair-braiders will be included. That contract starts when Port Coral begins operations fully.