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Royal Caribbean still backing Port of Magical Belize; agrees to meet with Leader of the Opposition

Posted: Tuesday, June 27, 2023. 10:08 pm CST.

By Aaron Humes: Opposition Leader Moses “Shyne” Barrow maintains that he doesn’t understand why Royal Caribbean Group continues to back the Port of Magical Belize after reading their response sent last week. Nonetheless, he says he is willing to meet with them as they have offered.

The Royal Caribbean response to Barrow’s letter from Joshua Carroll, its vice president of Destination Development, states that the Portico project “meets our standards for environmental impact and operational viability. The project, as designed, will have a limited impact on surrounding sensitive ecosystems. Of specific importance, the project will not be impacting the fragile and highly sensitive coral around One Man’s Key.” That is the channel through which most cruise ships go through in order to reach Belize City to dock and currently tender visitors to the mainland.

As for the Definitive Agreement, the corporation states that it was “executed prior to RCG’s association with Portico on the Port of Magical Belize, and it is our understanding that Portico is working closely with the Government to either amend the Definitive Agreement or execute a new Definitive Agreement to address stakeholder concerns with the existing document.”

But in an interview with reporters today, Barrow continues to insist that the project is “dead-raise,” as it has no approval, he has confirmed, from the Ministry of Natural Resources as to the seabed that would be needed to be dredged for structures in the area at a level exceeding that proposed for the Waterloo project and has been the slowest to get off the ground.

“If we are being fair, if we are dealing with equality and justice, then Mike Feinstein has the project that should be looked at immediately; Waterloo is not far behind as far as having an actual port, with a proprietor that has the money, is worth billions of dollars, has the majority of the banking sector in his palm in Belize. How are we discussing Portico? Why are we discussing Portico? It makes no sense,” Barrow said.

He added that Stake Bank is just about ready after spending $100 million and more on its project and has permission for the Drowned Cayes causeway, except that the Government has put this on hold. Add in the environmental issues faced by Portico’s project, and the perception compared for instance to the Vulcan mining proposal of a few months ago, and he doesn’t see how the project can continue except if there is corruption involved.

 

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