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#18356 - 07/08/04 02:00 AM Management agreement signed for Goff's Caye
Marty Offline
Management agreement signed for Goff's Caye
In the not too distant past, if you made your way to Goff's Caye, chances are yours would be the only boat there. Even a crowded weekend would usually find no more than a half dozen skiffs moored in the clear blue waters off the beach. That, of course, was before the arrival of cruise ships. Now, to cope with the growing crowds, an attempt is being made to at least bring some measure of regulation to the Caye. Patrick Jones reports.

Patrick Jones, Reporting
The one point two acre island located twelve nautical miles east of Belize City, is a popular recreational area that each week attracts hundreds of visitors to its white sandy beaches and colourful reefs. But increased traffic in recent months from both residents and tourists, is putting the resources at Goff’s Caye under severe stress. To preserve the natural beauty and minimize irreparable damage to the nearby reef and other marine ecosystems, Minister of Natural Resources Johnny Briceño today handed over management of Goff’s Caye to the Coastal Zone Management Authority and Institute.

John Briceño, Minister of Natural Resources
“Well I think Goff’s Caye is unique case. Because as we all realize, five years ago, you had very few visitors to Goff’s Caye, but now we are concerned because of the amount of visitors that come. I understand that during the high season we have an average of two hundred people per day, sometimes as much as four hundred. And unless we can have some management in place, Goff’s Caye will be destroyed in the next five/ten years from now.”

Briceño told News 5 that up until now, there has been no comprehensive plan of action for the hundreds of cayes and islets that dot the country’s eastern seaboard. The work of C.Z.M.A.I. under this agreement will provide invaluable insight into the formulation of a national policy.

John Briceño
“There have been studies done and I think Coastal Zone probably has done some of them, but again it’s a matter that we have to look at issue to issue from Caye to Caye depending on the ecosystem where they are located. So we hope that once we come up with this national plan it is something that we can use to be able to assist us in all these issues of conservation that we need to address in Belize.”

Hugh O’Brien, Chairman, C.Z.M.A.I
“This agreement signed today for the management of Goff’s Caye is significant in that it completes one of the most important measures that government has committed to implement for the sustainable financing of the authority and the institute.”

While the management agreement will be an important funding source for its operation, Chairman of the C.Z.M.A.I., Hugh O’Brien, says the benefits go further than dollars and make sound environmental sense.

Hugh O’Brien
“The institute is being charged with this responsibility, primarily because the institute is going to be required to ensure that the various infrastructures are in place even before they collect the fees. And after the collection of fees begin, those funds are to be used to monitor the reefs in the surrounding area, to look at carrying capacity in the area. And therefore those information and those studies are going to help to determine the levels of visitation that could be allowed.”

Prior to the implementation of the agreement, Goff’s Caye was open to use by anyone who could reach its shores, with little or no regard for sustainability. Research by the institute carried out since 1999 shows that human activities in the area are having a negative impact on marine habitats, including the reef system. Briceño says putting Goff’s Caye under careful management ensures that the whole country benefits.

Johnny Briceño
“From our end, the Ministry of Natural Resources, it’s important for us to be able to protect these areas. And for the Coastal Zone Management Authority and Institute, for them they need to find a way how they can self finance the authority. And this is an opportunity that is available to them. And apart from that, I want to add, they are also looking also to the very same issues that concerns us, the issue of sustainable management. So for us it’s a win-win situation; something that we cannot lose. And at the end of the day not only the authority and the Government of Belize will benefit, but the entire country of Belize.”

The immediate benefits from today’s agreement will go to the C.Z.M.A.I., which has been hurting financially since funding from external sources dried up in February. O’Brien says the success of the management plan is hinged on maintaining the current level of visitors to the island.

Hugh O’Brien
“The institute would require funds to operate of around, between point eight and one point two million, depending on various levels of projects carried out. Goff’s Caye is projected to generate just around a million dollars per year at the present level of visitations. Now the indications are that cruise tourism in expanding in Belize and if the fee is implemented at the ten dollars U.S. per visitor, then the generation level can go up to one point six million dollars.”

But the Institute is not content with just managing Goff’s Caye. O’Brien says the Institute has its sights set on other areas where delicate reefs exist.

Hugh O’Brien
“We would be seriously looking to extending this agreement to include waters around Rendezvous Caye and possibly around English Caye.”

Patrick Jones
“Ten U.S. dollars per visitors, as a Belizean, if I go there, would I be expected to pay ten U.S. dollars?”

Hugh O’Brien
“I must correct it’s ten U.S. dollars per non-Belizeans. Belizeans are going to be free.”

The management agreement includes tour guide training, installation of mooring buoys, toilet facilities, a garbage disposal system, and the construction of docking facilities. Patrick Jones, for News 5.

C.Z.M.A.I. says that it will hire rangers who will be stationed at Goff's Caye to oversee the safety of visitors as well as the protection of the natural resources

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#18357 - 07/08/04 02:03 AM Re: Management agreement signed for Goff's Caye
SP Daily Offline
They gonna pave it with concrete or blacktop?

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#18358 - 07/08/04 03:23 PM Re: Management agreement signed for Goff's Caye
Katie Valk Offline
Even though I do not like the thought of losing Goff, Rendezvous and English cayes, I'd rather sacrifice these few islands to cruise ship passengers rather then have the same people disturbing the reefs and marine parks that should be put aside for Belizeans and overnight visitors. Same for land based trips, I'd rather see them at venues specially created for the cruise market, like the Museum of Belize, Grans Farm, Old Belize Museum at Cucumber Beach and other places being built as we speak. Will take the pressure off overcrowding at the maya sites, caves and other attractions they've been overutilizing and Goffs is a good example of how that affects an island and life on and around it. Big problem in the Goff-Rendezvous-English caye area will be the large breeding manatee population which will be at even greater risk of death with increased and faster boat traffic. Theres already been alot of accidents.
_________________________
Belize based travel specialist
www.belize-trips.com
info@belize-trips.com

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#18359 - 07/08/04 07:13 PM Re: Management agreement signed for Goff's Caye
bywarren Offline
This is an issue I have a different view than you Katie Valk. I do not believe that any part of Belize can handle the volume of people and the resulting negative effects that will happen with the cruise business without changing, possibly destroying forever, the most important assets Belize has to offer. I got into a heated discussion awhile back when I was critical of the Belize Tourists Board issuing a press release about how they were giving tour guide training on taking port a potties and garbage bags to Goff’s Caye. Jesse is right on with his remarks. Some might see those has humerus. I see it as very prophetic. There is no amount of training or precautions that will effectively protect Belize’s resources from this volume of people. What they would have to do is exactly what Jesse refereed to i.e. changing the resources in such a drastic way in a feeble attempt to protect it that it would actually destroy it. I do not see any justification for allowing this to happen. I see the government making it’s unconvincing argument that the money brought in is worth it. It is not. The over night visitor is what Belize’s tourist industry was built on and it is what will be the continuing future of the industry. The cruise business will damage the quality of the experience for the over night visitor and eventually Belize will be left only with the cruise business until they ruin the country and decide not to come any more.

I wish the business owners who’s livelihoods depend on the over night visitor would ban together and not allow cruise business at their establishments. There is a small village in Alaska that did just that. It handed out fliers to the arriving cruise passengers saying they were not welcome as day guests but would be most welcome as over night visitors where the residents and businesses could show them their true hospitality. The cruise ships stopped coming and the village and residents feel they are much better off.

I am not one that accepts the position of trying to lessen the damage by letting the cruise business only use certain parts of Belize. Once they ruin those, they will move on to other parts if allowed.
The real question is to what extent can Belize’s resources be used in a responsible way. I do not believe that question has been given an honest answer.

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#18360 - 07/08/04 08:29 PM Re: Management agreement signed for Goff's Caye
SP Daily Offline
Remember this?
"They paved paradise And put up a parking lot
With a pink hotel, a boutique And a swinging hot spot
Don't it always seem to go That you don't know what you've got Till it's gone
They paved paradise And put up a parking lot.
They took all the trees And put them in a tree museum
And they charged all the people A dollar and a half just to see 'em
Don't it always seem to go That you don't know what you've got Till it's gone
They paved paradise And put up a parking lot.
Hey farmer farmer Put away that D.D.T. now Give me Spots on my apples But leave me the birds and the bees Please!
Don't it always seem to go That you don't know what you've got Till it's gone
They paved paradise And put up a parking lot.
Late last night I heard the Screen door slam And a big yellow taxi Took away my old man
Don't it always seem to go That you don't know what you've got Till it's gone
They paved paradise And put up a parking lot"

The new national anthem of Belize?

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#18361 - 07/09/04 04:06 PM Re: Management agreement signed for Goff's Caye
CrackerLarry Offline
By and Jesse......right on!

Don't forget Jimmy Buffet BTW. "how can you tell what it used to be when there's nothing left to see?"

He wrote that song about Daufuskie Island, about 20 miles from me. And how right he was. The bulldozers indeed buried the past. Tourists displaced the Gullah fishermen, golf courses displaced the 500 year old Live Oak trees and condos displaced the beachfront dunes. Now it's trashed. Gone forever, the resources, the culture, the way of life, the scenery. There's no turning back the clock. Don't let it happen to your piece of paradise.

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#18362 - 07/10/04 02:24 PM Re: Management agreement signed for Goff's Caye
ExoticTimepieces Offline
I love to think about Belize and especially San Pedro as " THE LAST CARIBBEAN FRONTEER " To do what ever is needed to perserve that title is the best course of action. No shirt, No shoes & Good service is the charm of it all. It must be maintained at all cost! Other wise you become just like all the rest of the Caribbean destinations.

Be special, keep the charm and warm feeling of the people and culture. People come to San Pedro to experience the mystique of sandy streets, what am I going to have for dinner and where is my next Belikin!

I fell in Love with San Pedro in 1989 and then met and fell in Love with my wife there. Both of these Loves are very special to me. So lets not ever have to ask the question." So where has all the Love gone?"
_________________________
Sparky

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#18363 - 07/15/04 09:48 PM Re: Management agreement signed for Goff's Caye
Jack and Rose Offline
I really like reading about these type of issues and hear everyones opinions. This board has a lot of folks who I think are on the right track about the overdevelopment that is taking place in Belize & especially the cayes.But for the life of me I can't understand Katie Valk!!! You would give up a few cayes to the "Cruise Idiots". Where do you think the cruises will go when those places are destroyed? Right on to others that will be opened to them by the Govt. of Belize. Money talks & bull.... walks. That's the way it is and thats the way it will always be. There is a huge difference between people that stay for an extended period and those who pull the "feed bags" off the face for a few hours and go ashore and trample everything they come in contact with.

The cruise business is growing in leaps & bounds and they seem to be able to go to any destination they want regardless if the infrastructure can handle it or not. It's all "money money money & more money" and all the palms have been greased.

Say goodbye to the Belize & San Pedro you know, it's go..........ing,go.........ing,
gone!!!

Just ask the Mexicans about the damage done in Cozumel because of overuse. I have been going there for quite awhile and it has changed and mostly not for the good.They sometimes have several "floating cities" at a time there. Where I go they post when the ships will be in so you can avoid going to town those days!!! I mean how many totally obese people with shoes and socks and long pants carrying plastic bags loaded with junk can the beaches and small towns handle?

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#18364 - 07/16/04 12:03 AM Re: Management agreement signed for Goff's Caye
Sir Isaac Newton Offline
Ms. Valk has extensive experience in the Belize tourism market. She knows what she is talking about. She lives and works here (and has for many years)

The cruise ships will not be stopped. Rather than loose this fight, the industry's stakeholders have focused their energies into helping control and police this new form of tourism.

Belize is the "little brother" in the region. We have enjoyed the luxury of learning from others mistakes and success stories.

We are not a bunch of idiots down here. In fact, our Minister of Tourism has played a major role in developing this country into one of the top destination in the Caribbean (Conde Naste, Island, CT&L). I would hate to think you have a more qualified opinion than Ms. Valk and the many talented folks at the BTB and Ministry of Tourism. Or perhaps we just became the hottest destination by accident?

The cruise ship industry is not all evil, if developed and controlled properly. People just tend to over sensationalize horror stories.

The BTB just gave $US100,000.00 to develop a marketing platform for the micro-hotels of Belize. Hardworking folks that can not afford to invest in designing and setting up websites. These funds were generated by the cruise ship head tax.

Katy will get a kick out of this....

I would really enjoy seeing people hand out flyers in Belize City (or AC for that matter) discouraging the cruise ship passengers.

The hair braiders, craftsmen, tour guides, vendors, taxi drivers, musicians and artisans would kick the *&^% out of you! This is how we feed our children, unless you can do this for us and keep Belize how YOU think it should be.

How can you people post this garbage!?

The cruise ships are more than welcome in Belize City. I actually enjoy going over to Belize now and visiting the shops and restaurants which are mainly supported by the passengers. The casino and theatre is another step ahead for us.

Do you have any idea of the jobs and incomes created? Belizeans bettering themselves. We want to be able to travel to exotic places also.

Or should this too, only be for you.

In the words of Hon. George Price; "Progress brings problems".

It is progress, the problems that come along will be worked out.

Despite the casino and the cruise ships and the development, each month new records are set for tourist arrivals.

If you all don't like it, go somewhere else and tell them how to run their country.

SIN
_________________________
Check out my site: www.ambergriscayerealestate.net

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#18365 - 07/16/04 12:25 AM Re: Management agreement signed for Goff's Caye
Katie Valk Offline
I think you are confusing me with someone who sets policy and has cayes to give away. Your issue is with the govt of Belize. I am in salvage mode and only hope we can contain the environmental degradation incurred by these masses to areas they've already made a mess of. Since I can't keep the door closed to this invasion, I am hoping Belizeans open attractions for cruise ship passengers that will take the pressure off our natural sites. I work in tourism, but not the cruise ship sector, and have shared my opinions with my govt representatives. You can let them know how you feel too. www.travelbelize.org and tell them Katie sent you. I am not the enemy.
_________________________
Belize based travel specialist
www.belize-trips.com
info@belize-trips.com

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