BELIZE CITY, Mon. Oct. 25, 2021 — FECTAB President Emeritus, Thomas Greenwood, Sr., at a press conference hosted by the organization today, blasted “elements” who he said are trying to destroy the Port Coral cruise tourism project. Greenwood said that the tendency to deny Belizean initiatives seems to be encoded in our local DNA, and that native Belizean investments face the most challenges and opposition in our country.
Greenwood then made reference to what he described as an “erroneous” document presented to Cabinet which seemed to suggest that the proposed causeway from Stake Bank to North Drowned Cay is not vital to the touristic aspect of the Port Coral cruise tourism port. In a release last week, the Government of Belize stated that they had reached the conclusion that the causeway was not key to the viability of the development of Port Coral and that the project could proceed without the construction of a causeway. Greenwood referred to this claim as shocking, disgusting, and angering. He then asserted that, to the contrary, the absence of a causeway would ruin the project. Greenwood said that the agreements for the causeways are in place, and that they are bona fide, and “are definitely something we can take to a court of law.”
During his remarks at the press conference, Greenwood also addressed concerns being raised by a number of environmental groups about the potential harm that construction of the causeway could cause to wildlife and marine systems in the area, “Well, I will tell the NGO, conservation groups at this time, that whatever you have been told about the causeways, throw it through the window. Look at the science, don’t become a denier group. Causeways and bridges don’t kill manatee, for heaven’s sakes. It is boats and propeller and people who do that. Causeways provide shear — that’s the first plus for the beloved manatee; causeways make boats slow down,” he said.
Greenwood went on to assert that the causeways will attract more wildlife to the area and be high enough to allow for just about anything to pass under them.
At this time, almost 400 people are working on the Port Coral development project, and Greenwood said that the operation will employ between 2,000 and 3,000 persons when completed.
Greenwood further said that he secured a 25-year contract with Port Coral for the members of FECTAB and presented that document to the then Barrow Administration, who approved it and gave the go-ahead for the development, according to Greenwood.
“Now I want to tell the present Government that’s what happen, I was there,” Greenwood attested.
FECTAB president, David Almendarez, during his remarks at the press conference, further said that a lot of people are having “amnesia” in regard to the processes undertaken by the Stake Bank developers in order to secure approval for the Port Coral project, which he said went through all the necessary processes in order for approval to be granted for the causeways. When asked if he had seen the documentation, Almendarez asserted that all the relevant matters were discussed in the Senate.
FECTAB represents hundreds of tour guides and dozens of tour operators, and it has entered a 25-year contract with Port Coral which would guarantee its members a steady supply of opportunities to earn income. Greenwood said that at the Tourism Village in Belize City, FECTAB’s members get the “dregs”, but that they will have unfettered access to Port Coral when it is opened next year.