The cruise tourism industry, so recently celebrating gains in visitor arrivals, took a body blow this week with the cancellation of five cruise ship visits in a two-day span. The passage of an advancing coldfront made tendering passengers from the ship difficult, if not nearly impossible.
It has led to calls for the Prime Minister to personally intervene to resolve the dispute between Fort Street Tourism Village and the Feinstein Group which is developing Stake Bank as a cruise port.
But today Prime Minister Dean Barrow was skeptical about any powers he might have to end the crisis as he did with the Superbond and utility companies, not to mention the sugar industry.
“The pleadings, I suppose, underline the difficulty. The Fort Street Tourism Village is not only responsding to Mr Feinstein’s claim that the exclusive agreement with FSTV is invalid, FSTV is saying, ‘We have an ancilliary claim against the Government of Belize.'”
Speaking later with reporters, P.M. Barrow expounded on the state of the impasse between the two entities, now headed to court.
Prime Minister Dean Barrow
“We have indicated that we want a solution. I would think the FSTV also wants a solution. They have an investment here, and they know that if in fact the business entirely dries up, they lose that investment. Matbe it’s not altogether as big a deal for them as it is for us. I don’t want to say too much, but I suspect that this represents skirmishing, serious skirmishing, but skirmishing between FSTV and the Feinstein group.
So let’s hope that we can get people to be sensible and practical and work it out.”
Even as we pressed as to what plans were if the two sides could not work it out, the P.M. stated that in this case, cooler, calmer heads would have to prevail.