URGENT:  NEW CRUISE SHIP THREAT FOR SOUTHERN BELIZE!!!!!

Background

Norwegian Cruise Lines (NCL) has asked the Government of Belize for approval of a cruise port at Crawl Caye, an island six miles east of the Placencia Peninsula and located in the Southwater Marine Reserve, part of the Belize Barrier Reef World Heritage Site - and surrounded by live corals.

The country of Belize just learned on Tuesday, 28 May 2013, that the Belize Government, through the Cabinet, will decide whether to support this proposal next Tuesday, 4 June 2013!

Government has not seen fit to provide details of the proposal to residents of the country of Belize, much less those most affected in southern Belize, including Hopkins, Dangriga, Placencia, Punta Gorda and Monkey River. 


However, some details of the proposal are now publicly known, including: 

  • NCL wants to bring in the largest ships, bringing mass cruise tourism to southern Belize;

  • NCL wants an exclusive 30 year right for their port, large tax concessions and a casino on Crawl Caye

  • NCL also wants to be able to lease berths to other cruise lines like Carnival and Royal Caribbean, possibly resulting in the move of ALL cruise ship tourism to southern Belize -- and the abandonment of Belize City by the cruise lines.

  • The Government of  Belize would have to pay for all roads and other infrastructure for NCL.

By having a caye as a port, NCL can eliminate ALL independent tour operators, and thus control every aspect of its operations in southern Belize, including food, tours, entertainment and transportation.

NCL can simply deny access to any independents who might want to sell tours, crafts or food to cruise ship tourists.

In addition, the Belize government has officially adopted a National Sustainable Master Tourism Plan for Belize 2030, which was released in June 2010. (A copy of the executive summary of the plan is available at http://www.pcsdbelize.org/sustainable-tourism.pdf )

This Sustainable Master Tourism Plan specifically states that “pocket cruise tourism [less than 300 passengers]" is the only acceptable form of cruise tourism in South Eastern Coast Belize and only in areas of new development in the northern portion of this section of the Belize coast.”

 

But, since the Master Plan doesn't say what the proponents of this proposal want it to say (and those proponents include several government ministers and high-ranking executives), they now want to amend the Master Plan, which was developed specifically for the Belize government by international tourism experts.  And, they want to amend it without ANY input from US!

 

What You Can Do

 

Regardless of whether you are a visitor to Belize or live here, let the government and the media know what you think about this attempt to forever change southern Belize -- its culture, its natural environment - and the lives of those of us who live and raise our families here.

If you are a visitor, especially, let our government and the media know what large cruise ships in southern Belize - Placencia, Hopkins, Monkey River and Punta Gorda, would do to your vacation plans for Belize. 

 

Following is the contact information you'll need: