On Wednesday PlusNews informed the nation of the proposed Feinstein development at Stake Bank and North Drowned Caye 2 miles east of Belize City. The proposed cruise port and tourism destination awaits approval from the National Environmental Assessment Committee (NEAC) which is reviewing the Environmental Impact Assessment addenda since the project intends to convert two islands into one-stop destinations for ships. On Thursday, we asked Minister of National Security, the Hon. John Saldivar for his take on the State Bank Investment proposal.
Hon. John Saldivar – Acting Prime Minister:
We certainly welcome the concept. We welcome the investors that are trying to put this project off the ground, but as with everything else they need to go by the rules and they have to do their EIA’s, and once they pass through the various processes, then it’s a go.
Jules Vasquez: But then Norwegian has a memorandum of understanding with the Government of Belize. They are working on a contract, which is going to the National Assembly. These State Bank developers do not have an MOU. Do they have the sanction of the state? We understand that the Ministry of Trade is looking very critically at the investment and whether it will actually benefit Belize City, being that it’s offshore. It’s an export processing zone, they want duty free status.
Hon. John Saldivar:
As far as I’m aware, Cabinet is in support of the State Bank Project, not in it’s entirety. There are aspects of it in which we have some problems. We have to look at the two causeways that they’re looking to build. I believe Cabinet is comfortable with at least one of them, the one that connects to Belize City, but all of those things are up for discussion. I believe that the investor is currently in discussion with the technical people.
President of the Federation of Cruise Tourism Associations of Belize (FECTAB), Tom Greenwood, has already given a ‘two thumbs up’ to the Feinstein initiative at Stake Bank/North Drowned Caye.