Posted: Wednesday, December 17, 2014. 11:07 pm CST.
Wednesday, December 17, 2014. AARON HUMES Reporting: Cruise ship visitors leaving Belize City this morning were greeted by a puzzling sight in the area of the Baron Bliss Lighthouse: protesters demanding that authorities take action immediately on the issue of a cruise port docking facility for the Belize District.
Tour operators led by the Federation of Cruise Tourism Associations of Belize (FECTAB) want it to save the industry and their jobs.
But there is an impasse between the owners of Fort Street Tourism Village and the proprietors of the Stake Bank Project, and the Government is not willing to get involved.
President of Citizens Organized for Liberty through Action (COLA) Geovannie Brackett, who led today’s demonstration, says that must change if the industry is to develop to the benefit of all Belizeans.
He called for a holistic approach to the sector’s development, with a docking facility front and center and the local tour operators getting their fair share of the fast-flowing tourist dollars.
Brackett says this is only the first step towards taking the issue to the international stage.
He says his organization has reached out to international partners to take up the cause, and today’s visitors will hopefully be persuaded enough to galvanize support abroad.
FECTAB Executive Member Yohnny Rosado pointed to a new report that suggests that Norwegian Cruise Line, who are completing their own facility at Harvest Caye in the Stann Creek District, aim to abandon Belize City as a port of call, a decision that would have fatal consequences for industry providers here.
Meanwhile, FECTAB President Tom Greenwood says it is up to Belizeans to throw the shackles off their hands and work together.
“Sweating fever” is not a bad thing, he says, when worse may follow.
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