Posted: Monday, April 12, 2021. 6:49 pm CST.
By Zoila Palma: Today, OCEANA Belize issued a statement calling on all Belizeans to demand from Government meaningful engagement on cruise development proposals to support informed decision making.
OCEANA says that despite public and repeated calls for the Government of Belize to review the cumulative impact of the multiple cruise port projects proposed for the Belize District, over the weekend the nation became aware that yet another cruise port has been approved.
“The letter, which has been widely circulated via social media, is dated April 9th, 2021, and is addressed to the Portico Enterprise Ltd. (Port of Magical Belize). Signed by Chief Environmental Officer Martin Alegria, the letter informs that Environmental Clearance has been granted for the construction and operation of Port of Magical Belize, a cruise ship port and day resort development to be located approximately three miles south of the mouth of the Sibun River in the Belize District,” OCEANA explained.
OCEANA says that as of today, the Government has not issued any further or official details.
“As scientists continue to highlight, the area off the coast of the Belize District is a high retention zone, so the proposed scale of dredging from even one project is a significant cause for concern. Additionally, the proposed mangrove clearing along the coast comes at a time when the importance of mangroves, especially in fighting climate change, is being promoted for increased protections,” OCEANA added.
OCEANA says that it calls on the Belizean people to maintain awareness and demand meaningful engagement on development proposals to support informed decision-making.
“Taking the cautious approach will ensure that we are able to weigh the costs and benefits of our decisions,” stated Oceana Vice-President, Janelle Chanona.
Chanona said that to do less than safeguard the very ecosystems and biodiversity that cruise visitors want to enjoy would be shortsighted and in the end, economically detrimental to all Belizeans.
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