Norwegian cruise line proposal denied

It’s a “No” to development on the island of Crawl Caye for cruise ship visitation. The Cabinet after meeting on Tuesday and listening to the report of its subcommittee on investment agreed to refuse Norwegian Cruise Lines permission to go ahead with their grand proposal for development on the island, as Prime Minister Dean Barrow explains.

Prime Minister Dean Barrow:
vlcsnap-2013-06-05-20h17m34s153Minister Hulse and the other Ministers reported that in fact the word from the technical experts that we had meet with the Norwegian people is that in the form in which it was being proposed by Norwegian, Crawl Caye as the site of cruise tourism development will not work. So we have indicated to NCL that Crawl Caye is out.  NCL, I believe, is  interested at looking at other possibilities in the south of Belize.  So I stress that we’ve not said a blanket “No” to any potential development for cruise tourism in the south at all.  But certainly it cannot, in terms of all the constraints, in terms of all the considerations articulated to us by the technical people, it cannot, will not work on Crawl Caye.

But the Prime Minister pointed out that the Government does not support a blanket bank on development in the South, and when asked whether such development could co-exist with the already developed Belize City area, noted that under Norwegian’s proposal, its competitors could not horn in on their enterprise.

Prime Minister Dean Barrow:
vlcsnap-2013-06-05-20h17m23s48I don’t know how there was ever a thought that if a project takes place in the south it would divert traffic from Belize City.  That cannot be a concern because we made clear to NCL, even at the start of the discussion, that if the project was ever to see the light of day, there site would be limited to hosting calls only from ships of NCL.  No other line would be able to go there.  So there was never any question of a conflict between the interests of the Belize City people and the people in the south.

With regard to the Stake Bank development calling for a causeway to the city, the Prime Minister told PLUS News that Michael Feinstein’s development is moving closer to reality.

Prime Minister Dean Barrow: 
Stake Bank was never jettisoned.  Stake Bank was in fact approved in so far as the Drowned Cayes aspect was concerned.  There was a point at which the developer said he wouldn’t necessarily be interested any longer in doing the causeway.  I gather he’s now said, You know looking at all the dynamics, and looking at the economic equation, he would want to put back on the table the causeway.  That will be considered in the context of the Environmental Impact Assessment, and that sort of thing.  The Feinstein project, if I can call it that, is very much on the table, and is at a juncture where it is almost good to go.  I would expect that an MOU could be signed in relation to the Feinstein project very shortly.

According to cabinet, they are supporting Norwegian Cruise Line’s request to search for an alternate site in Southern waters. Cabinet says they still feel this could stimulate employment and open up other economic benefits for Belizeans in the South. Any   new   site   and   project   proposal   will   be   presented   to   the   current   Cabinet   Sub- committee chaired by Minister Godwin Hulse.

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