Proposed over- water developments at Cayo Rosario in San Pedro have been met with a lot of opposition from tourism stake holders, fishermen and several San Pedro residents. Those opposed to the development do so mainly because it falls within the Hol-Chan Reserve. Despite the opposition, the National Appraisal Environment Committee gave the go ahead for the development to begin. The proposal was approved after small changes were made to down size the plan. While over-water structures were cut down from ninety to fifty-four, there will still be fifty more structures on the island, as well as a club, spa, restaurant and two docks. Plus News understands that the redesigned plan also calls for dredging and beach reclamation, which has also been opposed due to the Reserve’s location. The last time we reported on the matter, Minister of Environment Hon. Omar Figueroa indicated that balance must be struck between development and environment. Today, the San Pedro Area Representative, Hon. Manuel Heredia, was asked to give an update on the island development. In response, Heredia says that he along with the Minister of Environment Omar Figueroa, will be doing an onsite tour of the island within this week and next week. He added that it is his personal belief that the number of over water structures approved will not be able to fit on the island.
Hon. Jose Manuel Heredia Jr., Minister of Tourism and Civil Aviation: The Minister of the Environment and myself spoke and I told him of the concerns of the tour guides and the culture marine reserve, and we have agreed that next week we will take an on-site visit of the island to analyse what we are supposed to do, what is the maximum that we are supposed to accept. Because at this point as I told you I think last week, they believe that the number of over the water structures is exaggerated, it’s too much. I personally believe knowing the island, that if you put those 42 over the water structures on the island itself, it will not fit over there. So why approve so many over there? And I must reiterate again that I had very little participation in the decision making of the approval these things, which I believe that as the Area Representative and as the Minister of Tourism, since it is a tourism project I should have been consulted a lot more.
Hon. Jose Manuel Heredia Jr., Minister of Tourism and Civil Aviation: That likes a confrontation with any group or any community. So in this case that they have threatened that they will go in numbers over there, whenever the first pile of whatever is being put that they will go in numbers to oppose it. And that is what I told the minister of environment, that we must go over there. And if we can do our part to make sure that we can avoid this unnecessary thing, then let us do so.
Reporter: Even at the risk of losing the project itself?
Hon. Jose Manuel Heredia Jr., Minister of Tourism and Civil Aviation: Well, you know my people comes before anything else.