Here’s something you probably haven’t heard on the local news circuit: 80% of our reefs in the Caribbean are dead.

Think about the Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) deal. If you are the proud parent of a newborn, did you know the average life expectancy in Belize is seventy-six years? Consider, that for the first twenty-five years of your child’s life, NCL will have exclusive rights to Harvest Caye.

Back to that 80% statistic…earlier in August, it was announced as a rough estimate that the Caribbean has lost 80% of its coral reef cover in recent years. An intensive and in depth scientific survey is being conducted: ‘The Catlin scientific survey will undertake the most comprehensive survey yet of the state of the region’s reefs, starting in Belize and moving on to Mexico, Anguilla, Barbuda, St Lucia, Turks & Caicos, Florida and Bermuda.’

According to the Project’s Director, Richard Vevers: “The Caribbean was chosen to launch the global mission because it is at the frontline of risk. Over the last 50 years 80% of the corals have been lost due mainly coastal development and pollution. They now are also threatened by invasive species, global warming and the early effects of ocean acidification — it’s the perfect storm.”

A perfect storm, that the GOB seems willing and intent on plunging Belize’s fragile marine ecosystem of the South. The GOB wasn’t alone this summer in concluding sweet deals.

Our neighbours across the sea in Jamaica, are ‘raising Cain’ over a secret deal concluded by the Government of Jamaica (GOJ) and China. Recently, it was discovered that the GOJ is planning on “selling out” the 2nd largest island of that archipelagic state to the Chinese for a transshipment port. Goat island as it is known, although inhabitable by humans, is a rich and complex ecosystem. Providing a habitat for several species of fish and some of Jamaica’s indigenous and endangered creatures. It is also located in the Portland Bight area, which, because of its coral reefs and mangroves had been declared a protected area. Imagine a transshipment port in such an area.

Imagine NCL down South.

The GOJ has been accused of not “consulting with the public or with its partners, the environmental bodies, quite contrary to the recent signing of a social partnership with its promise of transparency”.

Sounds all too familiar.

While governments think about the short term of lining their coffers our existence and way of life are threatened.

The Belize Times