Following meetings with Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador last week, Prime Minister John Briceno says there was a mutual desire to include Belize in the Riviera Maya strip. The idea would have to see the construction of a 40-foot bridge along with other investments. The Government is excited at the idea but Prime Minister Briceno says they are not about to jump head on without fine tuning the details.
Hon. John Briceno, Prime Minister of Belize: “You know worldwide everybody talks about the Riviera Maya. They know that they go to Cancun and all the way up to Tulum and that area. And now the Mexican government is starting to do some work in Mahahual that is the peninsula that comes right close to Belize and I think they call it the Canal de Saragossa that separates Belize from Mexico and it’s just about forty feed wide. There is this theory that they believe that the Mayas were the ones that dug it so that instead of having to go twenty five plus miles on dorey to get to the tip and then come up again they dug this canal. We believe that if we can build a bridge that can connect Mexico to Belize, to Ambergris Caye in this instance, then we can say that the Riviera Maya starts in Cancun and ends in San Pedro. You can imagine what we can do with that and now we have all of North Ambergris Caye that is virtually undeveloped by opening that up we can bring in tremendous investment and development into that area. But lets look at what has happened in San Pedro. There was no real development plan in San Pedro, it was an organic growth and because of that organic growth now we have outgrown that section of San Pedro that you have so many golf carts, they don’t have proper housing and everything that goes along with the development of San Pedro as the town of San Pedro. So when we met with Fonatur, Fonatur is the organization from Mexico that looks at tourism developments. They were the ones that planned out Cancun, they’re the ones that have planned out along with the president the Tren Maya that goes probably about five or six southern states that connect them through a train system. Now they’re starting to do some work in Mahahual so we are now taking advantage of that since Mahahual is a new area we believe that by telling the Mexicans we can connect Mahahual to San Pedro it will then bring more traffic into Mahahual and for us it brings traffic from Cancun so it’s a win win for everybody. But we don’t want the development to be haphazard, we want it to be a planned development. Fonatur has expressed interest in helping us to look at what’s going on and see what advice they can give us but what I’ve done is that I’ve set up what we call the North Ambergris Caye Development Committee. It’s a group made up of government and business sector. Their task is to try to come up with some form of development to ensure that we can have a development that is going to be for the ages.:
Reporter: There’s already a canal.
Hon. John Briceno, Prime Minister of Belize: “A canal that divides Mexico and Belize, many people were not aware of that and so we hope that then by building that bridge we can open up and then connect the Riviera Maya all the way to Cancun.”
The committee is being chaired by Minister Christopher Coye with support from businessmen, Michael Bowen and Sean Feinstein, Bob Dylan, Jaime Briceno, Mayour Wally Nunez, Ambassador Hysam Diab and Ministers Andre Perez and Julius Espat.