BTIA Says They Want Another Hearing

BTIA logoThe Belize Tourism Industry Associaion, BTIA, has retained the services of Senior Attorney Godfrey Smith as it relates to the Norwegian Cruise Line’s Nature Park Project on Harvest caye.

In a three page letter made public today written to Cheif Environmental Officer, Martin Alegria, Attorney Godfrey Smith laid out BTIA’s concerns that the National Environmental Appraisal Committee NEAC, also chaired by Alegria, has met and approved the Environmental Impact Assessment for NCL’s project on Harvest Caye, without following the law.

The BTIA letter states that the Committee had a legal obligation under Law, Enviromental Impact Assessment regulations 25(1)(c) to hold a Public Hearing, not a public consultation, as the three conditions of Section 24 of the said law were met.

It also states that the committee failed to publish he notice regarding the addendum to the Enviromental Impact Assessment for two consecutive weeks as required by law and that they proceeded to approve the Enviromental Impact Assessment without fulfilling the requirements of Sections 5 and 19 of the Enviromental Impact Assessment regulations.

The letter contends that Mike Heusner, a member of NEAC, had recommended on January 10th, 2014 that such a Public hearing needed to be held. In addressing the Norwegian Cruise Line’s Environmental Impact Assessment for Harvest Caye, theletter claims that the Enviromental Impact Assessment failed to assess several key areas including the impact of dredging and its disposal on coastal groundwater and potable water, the project’s impact on marine and biological resources, and the impact of Berms on nearby mangrove and sea grass beds.

Smith wrote on behalf of BTIA that the not following the terms of reference and so QUOTE “the NEAC/DOE therefore both reached decisions that no reasonable decision-maker would have reached.” they also contend that the decision was made with great haste and secrecy.

Attorney Smith, on behalf of the BTIA, ended by calling upon Chairman Martin Alegria to comply with the law and hold a public hearing.  He ads that if they do not receive a response in the next two weeks, their intention is to institute a judicial review proceedings against NEAC and Department of the Environment.

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