By Aaron Humes: Citizens Organized for Liberty through Action (COLA) has been keenly following developments regarding the establishment of a cruise port docking facility for the Belize District.
In January they called out the Government for seeming to change its stance from its days in Opposition on the Luke Espat-planned cruise port in Port Loyola underwritten by Carnival Cruise Lines.
We reported a few weeks later that the door seemed to be closed on the project when representatives of the Waterloo Group, the Port’s receivers, appeared to dismiss it as “unattractive” and may not be feasible. The organization’s sources say that the project has been viewed by some as a potential environmental nightmare for residents of the area, and that Waterloo is unwilling to get involved in such a volatile project which can result in a massive public backlash.
But yesterday, Minister of State Tracey Taegar-Panton told us otherwise, adding that other business interests are in the running as well.
But COLA is sticking to its guns, saying that the proposal received an “outright rejection”, and that Government should now look at other options, including the already-greenlighted Stake Bank project created by Michael Feinstein.
Feinstein was refused exclusivity for his project in the wake of a Supreme Court decision that limited its use late last year. He then said that he would put the project on hold, and Government began to look again at the Carnival project.
COLA says the Government, quote, “must get serious about the construction of a Belize cruise port. We have seen the real possibility that Belize could lose access to major cruise lines if it does not construct a suitable port to handle larger ships. We have seen the investment put into the Stake Bank Tourism Project, approved by FECTAB. Cabinet has given a green light to that project which will be one of the largest investments ever made in the country.” End quote.
It adds that GOB must return to Stake Bank and press forward on that initiative, and warns that Belize cannot afford to be left behind as the rest of the region expands its tourism product.
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