Belize City, Friday, December 19, 2003As of tomorrow, Saturday December 20, visitors to Caye Caulker will be welcomed to a brand new municipal dock. To commemorate the occasion on Saturday, the Caye Caulker Village Council and the Caye Caulker Water Taxi Association are hosting an inauguration ceremony at 3:00 o’clock in the afternoon. Guest speaker will be the Minister of Economic Development, Tourism and Culture, Mark Espat.
The construction of this pier is of much importance, as this area welcomes an estimated 90 percent of visitors, inclusive of both locals and international travelers, to the island. According to Chairman of the Caye Caulker Village Council Alberto Villanueva, an estimated figure of about 2,000 persons, with the vast majority being visitors, make use of this dock daily during the height of the season. The previous structure had been in existence approximately since 1992 and had withstood both hurricanes Mitch and Keith in 1998 and 2000 respectively. It had sustained extensive damage during Hurricane Mitch and has deteriorated over the years.
Tourism Minister, Mark Espat comments, “We strive to constantly improve the tourism experience for all visitors and locals alike. Each part of an individual’s journey is significant, as it impresses upon that person something different, and yet equally substantial. Similarly, each improvement in any, and every individual Belizean destination impacts our entire industry.”
The plush wharf, costing an approximate BZ$85,000, is being constructed in two phases. Phase one, 300 feet in length and 12 feet in width, consists only of the actual pier. Phase two features extensive lighting, the water taxi’s office and a departure ramp. Phase two also incorporates a thatched departure/arrival lounge, known locally as the “palapa,” which will be completed by January 2004.
The BTB, the Caye Caulker Village Council and the Government of Belize subsidized the cost of the first phase of the wharf, while the Caye Caulker Village Council and Water Taxi Association are financing the second phase. With the exclusion of the “palapa,” the construction of the pier took approximately eight weeks.