The proposed project to transform the Northern Two Caye and Sandbore, located in the Lighthouse Reef Atoll into an exclusive resort complete with airport runway and massive marina has raised many eyebrows and the environmental community is now sounding the alarm.
Earlier this week, Michael Singh, CEO in the Ministry of Trade, explained that while he himself has some concerns with the proposal, the project has not even reached the stage of where it can be considered for an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA).
Today the Conservation Community issued a press release urging the Government to come clean with the exact status of the proposed project and posed several questions to the Barrow Administration saying,
“The last official word on this project was in August 2013 to announce that a feasibility study was going to be conducted on Puerto Azul. What are the findings of that study? We hereby request that the study be made public. The current plans for Puerto Azul include significant alternations to the natural state of the cayes. How does this plan reconcile with Belize’s tourism marketing strategy of “authenticity”? ”
The press release also made mention of Ministers Contreras’ and Heredia’s attendance at the unveiling of the project in Canes, France demanding to know if the presence of Government Ministers at the unveiling of the project indicates,
“…an official endorsement of the project by the Dean Barrow administration? Who paid for Ministers Heredia, Contreras and their entourage to attend the European event? How will a project of this magnitude impact the local economy of fisher folks, tour guides and tour operators?”
These and other concerns, said the press release, stem from the fact that the area slated for massive tourism is environmentally sensitive.
While the conservation community is demanding answers, they say what is already in the public domain is in itself cause for substantial concern.
This was a joint press release between the Belize Tourism Industry Association, Oceana, Healthy Reefs, WWF, the Belize Audubon Society, Mar Alliance, and APAMO.