Letters — 30 August 2013 — by Patricia Celenza

Dear Editor,

Wouldn’t it be nice if we could wave a magic wand over Belize, and will all its people full and lucrative employment? It is what Belizeans ask for, and it is what Belizeans deserve – the dignity of steady work for which they are justly compensated.

But there is nothing magical in the 1,000 jobs allegedly being promised by Norwegian Cruise Lines in southern Belize. Norwegian Cruise Lines—with its U.S. $50,000,000 budget to develop Harvest Caye as a Disney-like environment for its 4,000 passengers—will permanently destroy a pristine caye environment and adversely impact neighboring communities—for what? For 1,000 jobs that NCL only hints at providing but does not guarantee? Norwegian Cruise Lines—with its annual budget of U.S. $56,000,000 for marketing alone—a Goliath in a giant megabuck industry that holds all the cards and benefits only itself— can suggest perhaps 1,000 jobs for Belizeans? And who knows if it is even as many as 1,000 jobs?

Crumbs, that’s what NCL may be offering Belize for a piece of a pristine pie.Crumbs is what NCL offers around the world to developing nations, where people are desperate to support their families, and whose governments willingly sacrifice their natural gifts for corporate promises.

Crumbs are insulting. This deal with NCL is a game based on one thing and one thing only—TRUST.

NCL wants us all to trust it. Trust in NCL does not guarantee jobs. Trust in NCL does not guarantee decent working conditions. Trust in NCL does not guarantee equitable and just compensation.

No, we cannot trust an international corporate giant that takes all for itself and delivers crumbs to those who have entered into this game!

Please listen to our brothers and sisters in Belize City, who hoped for a better life with the cruise industry, who believed in and trusted those promises Goliath made to them, only to be entangled in a devious business. Please listen and learn.

Jobs are crucial, yes, one that Government, private sector, and individuals must devote serious energies to, but mass cruise industry in southern Belize must be opposed and stopped. Mass cruise industry in southern Belize is no magic wand.

Respectfully submitted,
Patricia Celenza
Placencia

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