A Chinese owned company SUNNY CITY DEVELOPMENT COMPANY LIMITED plans to develop a 5000 acres residential subdivision and commercial undertaking to be located at Mile 12 ½ Northern Highway, Ladyville Village in the Belize District.
"We take that to mean that those 30,000 persons at Sunny City will not come from the surrounding areas of Ladyville, Lords Bank, Burrell Boom and Sandhill, whose residents, instead, were promised jobs at a poorly promoted consultation attended by 30 persons a month ago. Our sources are openly saying that the residents of Sunny City will come primarily from mainland China. No one in officialdom has denied that, or has said much of anything about the project." - Amandala
If the numbers are half right then we will have more Chinese in Belize than Garifuna(14,061) ,Maya ‐Ketchi(12,366) ,Maya ‐Mopan(8,980) and Maya ‐Yucatec (3,155)
The Minister of State in the Ministry of Finance, Hon. Santi Castillo, referenced it in his budget presentation 10 days ago. Several callers on the KREM WUB morning show queried about it last week, and until a few days ago no other section of the media, except KREMANDALA, had picked up the story. The “it” we refer to is the mega project called Sunny City, to be located on 5,000 acres at Mile 12 3/4 on the Northern Highway.
Those lands were formerly owned by the now defunct Nova Companies Belize Limited, which in its best year yielded almost nine million pounds of shrimp, and for almost 20 years employed an estimated 700 to 800 persons annually during peak production, with an administrative staff of over 75 full-time employees. Nova had a processing plant capable of processing 40,000 pounds of shrimp daily.
AMANDALA’s Charles X Hyde, a former manager at Nova, in two separate stories in the last few weeks, has publicly questioned how it is that these new developers, Sunny City Development Company Limited, came to own this 5,000 acres of prime land. According to Hyde, after Nova fell into receivership in January of 2007, on at least two occasions investors from the United States, intent on reopening Nova, attended auctions to purchase the lands. Each time, they were rejected.
Either way, the new developers took over ownership of the 5,000 acres in February of this year, and have hired a Japanese architectural firm to design a master plan for what they call “a great city,” where residents will be able to travel in manmade lakes, ride horses, watch birds, and learn about nature. Sunny City, they say, will be able to accommodate some 30,000 persons, and will have several vacation hotels, complete with casinos.
According to the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), the residential part of the project will cover about 3,000 acres which will feature all sorts of Chinese and British villas, from “superior villas,” to “luxurious yacht villas,” to “superior luxurious yacht villas.” This is “high-end,” they say.
We take that to mean that those 30,000 persons at Sunny City will not come from the surrounding areas of Ladyville, Lords Bank, Burrell Boom and Sandhill, whose residents, instead, were promised jobs at a poorly promoted consultation attended by 30 persons a month ago. Our sources are openly saying that the residents of Sunny City will come primarily from mainland China. No one in officialdom has denied that, or has said much of anything about the project.
We have been down this road before. We would hope that there is some official information soon on this mystery project, and we would hope that residents in the area would be given enough notice before public consultations, and that their concerns would be adequately addressed. The surrounding areas have fewer than 10,000 residents combined — the EIA says 9,200 to be exact — while Sunny City is looking at 30,000 residents smack in the middle of those communities.
We believe that is cause for consternation and concern. We believe it also raises some larger questions.
As far as we know, we are living in a country without a clear immigration policy. The Sunny City development project, we think, beckons us to have one. This is 2012. We don’t mean to be emotive here, but we need to have an immigration policy in place based on substantive social and economic studies. We need to consider where we want to go as a nation, what are our developmental needs, how many people ideally our country should have, what skill sets any new citizens or permanent residents should possess, and in what numbers. There is a thing called “managed migration.”
We absolutely need to gather and talk about the socioeconomic effects of large scale emigration and immigration on this beloved home of ours. Too many things happen in this country and there is absolutely no discussion. Too many things happen in this country, and we only talk about them when it’s too late, when the die has been cast, and the game is over.
Over the many years of our history, or the short years of our history, depending on how you want to look at it, we have allowed massive emigration and immigration without even so much as a byword.
30 years ago the so-called Creoles, black and brown people, were a little over 39 percent of the population. 10 years later, in 1991, we were down to 30 percent. Ten years later down to 25 percent, and today we are 21 percent and sliding still.
When thousands upon thousands of black Belizeans began leaving Belize for so-called “greener pastures,” starting in the aftermath of Hurricane Hattie 50 years ago, nobody really bothered to consider what would be the effect on our nation-state. Now, in the immortal words of Malcolm X, the chickens are coming home to roost.
Some reports say as many as 40,000 of us may have left Belize in the 1980s, while it is estimated that almost 30,000 Central American immigrants, fleeing civil wars in Guatemala, Honduras and Salvador, landed here in the first half of that decade alone. The human traffic in and out has continued, only slightly abated, in the ensuing years.
We cannot put the proverbial genie back in the bottle, but we have an opportunity here to do different. We have an opportunity here to get it right. Our country has to have a clearly articulated immigration policy; any self-respecting country in 2012 should.
We cannot have 30,000, or 15,000, or any thousands, of any people come into The Jewel without an open discussion about the pros and cons of it. It may be a case of trying to close the barn door after the horses have left – in the case of the Chinese they are everywhere in this country already, in every hamlet; and it is for sure that they work together. If it is that the rest of us in this country don’t, they do. Check them out.
Some will say we shouldn’t be raising these issues – for the sake of national unity, we shouldn’t, they will say. At this newspaper, we have a responsibility to raise these matters; we cannot bury our heads in the sand. It is real. There are only about 65,000 black and brown Belizeans in modern Belize, and we are dwindling – once a proud majority has become a minority that is not only homicidal, but suicidal. It is from this crucible of experience that we must emerge.
Note that of all the places in all the land, the 30,000 “high-end” residents of Sunny City will be placed right in the middle of the only district that has a predominantly black and brown population. Forgive us if we seem a little paranoid, but we have been around long enough to know when something doesn’t quite feel right.
We know that who we are as a nation is in constant motion, constant metamorphosis, but here we can’t help but feel helpless as our country changes – and truth is the changes are not always for the better. Geopolitical forces, and global currents and rapacious capitalists keep batting us around like flies. We have to stop at some point and try to make sense of our existence, try to get our hands around this nation we are building, try to save ourselves, as everything about us falls apart. A sensible immigration policy is needed, is all we saying. It is written.
Grand community development planned on Northern Hwy
Faithful viewers of Rise and Shine were this morning introduced to a very ambitious project. Ever heard about the Sunny City Development Township Project? Well, that’s exactly what a caller wanted to know. The discussed raised a lot of interest this morning and Hon. Anthony “Boots” Martinez gave and initial response about the project.
Hon. Anthony “Boots” Martinez, Minsiter of Human Development I know of a development that should be happening in Ladyville. They had the EIA, but I don’t know the magnitude of it.
Louis Wade Jr., Host, Rise and Shine But it’s a Chinese community?
Hon. Anthony “Boots” Martinez Well, a couple things - If people are genuinely investing in the country in terms of buying land, putting in infrastructure - we are talking about development, whether its Chinese, Indian, whatsoever.
According to the caller the project has been floated around and it was introduced in the House recently. The project, it seems, will be catering to some thirty thousand Chinese some of whom are not even resident in the country. According to Minister Martinez the project has not officially been tabled at cabinet.
Hon. Anthony “Boots” Martinez I don’t know what the development entails and obviously maybe the people have market for their own people, I don’t know. Also, you have to be conscious that there won’t just be free-for all. You have to follow the laws of the country - immigration laws, whatsoever the case may be?
Louis Wade Jr. So is it a real project? Is it in the wind or is it something that is going forward?
Hon. Anthony “Boots” Martinez I have heard about it but –
Louis Wade Jr. As a Minister in Cabinet?
Hon. Anthony “Boots” Martinez I have not heard about that project in Cabinet, I read about the consultancy forces that they have over the EIA and whatsoever. I haven’t been following it. I can’t comment on it because I don’t know the details of it.
While he maintained that the project has not been discussed in cabinet and that he is not fully aware of its scope , the caller was not satisfied and called back to expound.
Caller Obviously if he is saying that it is in the oven, it had to have been discussed in Cabinet.
Hon. Anthony “Boots” Martinez Do you have the details about the project Sir?
Caller Hold on man, you will get your chance. You don’t know about it yet, so I don’t know why you are talking.
Hon. Anthony “Boots” Martinez Tell me about it then.
Caller Hold on man.
Hon. Anthony “Boots” Martinez Tell me about it.
Louis Wade Jr. Okay thank you Mr. Saldivar. Any comments?
Hon. Anthony “Boots” Martinez Mein I don’t want to comment. I commented that I don’t know fair enough about the project.
Louis Wade Jr. So you can’t even say if it’s Belizean, Chinese, foreign Chinese?
Hon. Anthony “Boots” Martinez How do we continue to talk about growing the economy and then discriminate foreign investors, so it’s only certain kinds of investors that you want to invite to the country? I think investment is investment and once it is in line and once the people in the country can get benefit in terms of jobs.
A concern raised about the project is that it’s reportedly catering only to the Chinese Community and not the wider Belizean population. Minister Martinez responded to that concern.
Hon. Anthony “Boots” Martinez All I am saying is that at the end of day, I don’t know and I don’t want to comment too much, not even knowing the details.
Louis Wade Jr. But do you share my concern?
Hon. Anthony “Boots” Martinez I will definitely have my view if for certain that is it, but I don’t want to preempt and throw something negative at the project that I don’t know.
Louis Wade Jr. But we need the foreign investment.
Hon. Anthony “Boots” Martinez Yes I think once it is in line, I can support it.
Louis Wade Jr. Agreed.
His comments were vague, so our news team did some investigation into the Sunny City Project and found out a wealth of information. A 345 page Environmental Impact Assessment dated April 2012 was recently completed. According to the EIA The proposed Belize Sunny City Concept Master Plan is for a residential subdivision and commercial undertaking to be located at Mile 12 ½ on the Northern Highway, in the village of Ladyville. The project will be constructed at a location formerly known as Nova Companies Belize Limited. According to the document, in February of 2012 the lands once belonging to Nova Company (Belize) Limited, were purchased and transferred to Sunny City Development Company Limited. The new owners of the property have hired Apollo Architects and Associates to assist in the design and planning for a proposed residential subdivision and commercial undertaking for the area. A master plan has already been developed by the company which happens to be one of Japans premier architectural firms. The project is expected to cover and approximate 5000 acres and will be divided into eight zones. The residential area will cover about 3,000 acres and will include land for superior villa, ordinary villa as well as luxurious yacht villas, canal or channel side villas, forest villas and superior luxurious villas; the high end villas will be located close and adjacent to the coastal portions as well as the intended lakes. The commercial component of the City will cover approximately 320 acres and will include entertainment, services, public facilities, business centres, casinos, and trade and promotions centres. Plus news will have more details on this ‘development’ in a subsequent newscast.
Personally I'd love to see 30,000 more Chinese in Belize along with 30,000 more Mennonites and 30,000 more gringo retirees, but I doubt it will happen anytime soon in Sunny City.
Belizeans suffer from sinophobia (is that a word?) and typical of the editor of Amandala - always willing to feed irrational fears and nurture hatred and resentment among people.
The whole political system dedicated to protect the economical interests of the oligarchy and provide steady supply of brand spanking new SUVs for all the important HONs and the enterprising and hard working Chinese are to blame for the sorry state of Belizean economy? This isn't just a Belizean problem - all the failing 3rd world states with a bunch of greedy piggies at the troughs and ~20 trillion dollars stashed in offshore banks have the same problem - you know what it is - forget about Chinese - nobody can screw you like your own.
To be fair, it's not only a Belizean thing. Immigrants everywhere are often the scapegoat for economic problems. The immigrant hispanic population in the US, for example, have been feeling the hate for some time now and it has only gotten worse as America is going through the worse economic slowdown since the Great Depression.
Just heard that its the old Nova Shrimp Farm complex thats the site. Glad they are making use of the place. This will surely bring employment to this area... and thats always good thing since both Nova & Williamsons' closed shop 4-5 yrs ago.
"This isn't just a Belizean problem - all the failing 3rd world states with a bunch of greedy piggies at the troughs and ~20 trillion dollars stashed in offshore banks have the same problem - you know what it is - forget about Chinese - nobody can screw you like your own."
And let's not forget the 1st world countries like the US who have done such a poor job at government that they have essentially sold the entire farm to the Chinese? Except in our case the trillion dollars stashed are mostly the debts we owe to the Chinese.
Nothing is foolproof to a sufficiently talented fool.