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No “magic” to proposed cruise port, say NGOs

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Posted: Friday, January 29, 2021. 11:55 am CST.

By Aaron Humes: Some members of the Belize Network of Non-Governmental Organizations (BNN), as discussed by Senator for NGOs Osmany Salas, have come out against going forward with the proposed Port of Magical Belize.

It is one of three proposed cruise ports in the Belize District alone – the others are Stake Bank and Waterloo in Port Loyola – after the apparent closure of Harvest Caye in Stann Creek District, and would be located a few miles south of the Sibun River.

As explained by Salas, Belize tourism has a tough choice to make: “Basically, what kind of destination do we want to make ourselves. As a result of the pandemic, how do we intend to make up the industry. We know that cruise has taken a huge hit maybe even difficult for cruise to recover when compared to overnight tourism so there are a lot of questions left.”

And on the proposed Magical Belize port, which construction would involve dumping millions of cubic meters of soil in the sea, that would unintentionally hurt our biggest asset, Salas added, “…there’s no way we can support something like that and risk for the delisting of our World Heritage Site again. Because when our Belize Barrier Reef system was declared an area at risk and it was considered as such [as a] World Heritage Site, it took us 9 years to be removed from that [status; it wasn’t] easy to get back on it. So, we have to be very careful with the type of development we want to push forward.”

A consensus position will be developed, Salas concluded.

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