The Belize Network of NGOs (BNN) has documented its concerns over the possibility of as many as five cruise ports being developed and subsequently posing dangers to marine life and waters. Currently, there is the Fort Street Cruise Terminal; the Stake Bank Cruise Port under construction; the Harvest Caye Belize; Port Coral Belize and Port of Magical Belize as well as the proposed cargo and cruise expansion at the Port of Belize. Senator Osmany Salas of the BNN spoke to Love News explaining that the concerns come at a time when Belize is looking to sign onto the Blue Bonds Program geared at protecting Belize’s marine life.
Senator Osmany Salas, Belize Network of NGO’s: “While the Blue Bonds initiative on one hand will provide much needed support to expanded marine conservation if we are not careful on the other hand as a country we could be allowing certain types of developments that could result in being deleterious to the same marine environment that the Blue Bonds initiative is aiming to support so we’re just pointing that out and there are several cases we can refer to but as a major case in point we expressed concern about what we see as the currently three proposed cruise port developments that are on the table. One that is under construction, another one that is going through EIA consultation process and one that we understand has received environmental clearance. Now we already have Harvest Caye and we have the other Belize City Fort Street Tourism Village, this country cannot – we can’t see how this country can accommodate five cruise ports or more than three. So we are urging the government to not leave it up to market forces to decide because if you leave it up to market forces to decide which of the cruise ports will advance by that time there could have been major negative impacts to our marine environment and if we make the right decisions from now we can avoid all of that.“
According to a release from the Belize Network of NGOs, these ports will, quote, “The established scientific research indicates that cruise ships generate millions of gallons of toxic waste and burn significant amounts of heavy diesel. Therefore, allowance of five cruise ports in our nature-based economy would be a walk-back from the spirit of the Blue Bonds Initiative. The cost of the resulting environmental degradation would subvert the Blue Bonds savings in the long term.” End of quote.