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#499631 - 01/07/15 10:00 AM PM Says City Port Will Come
Marty Offline
You may have seen the Prime Minister's New Year's Day Message, which we aired in our New Year's Eve newscast. But the thing was 10 minutes long, so just in case you tuned out, he did outline some important public initiatives.

One of them is the promise to give students at tertiary level a tablet for free. He said in the speech that his government has purchased approximately 7,000 devices:


Most of his message was focused on Tourism, and the improvements that he and his government wants to make in infrastructural upgrades. He says that apart from fixing roads to 3 main tourist sites, a cruise port and docking facility is coming to Belize City, one way or the other:


Channel 7


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#499732 - 01/09/15 09:51 AM Re: PM Says City Port Will Come [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

PM Serious About Docking Facility For Belize City

Prime Minister Barrow has made a new year's commitment to settle on a viable cruise ship docking facility for Belize City. He says he hopes to bring both sides together:..

Hon. Dean Barrow, Prime Minister
"One way or another we will find some way to make it happen. I can't tell you right now exactly how, but we will find some way to make it happen. One thing I certainly want to do is to try to get Stake Bank and FSTV together. My sense is this is a quarrel over money..."

Jules Vasquez
"And control..."

Hon. Dean Barrow, Prime Minister
"Precisely, so, greed and luker."

Developer, the Feinstein group says it will not relinquish controlling interests in the Stake Bank project. A major bundle of lawsuits is going to court next month with all sides more or less suing the other, or government.

Channel 7


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#499771 - 01/10/15 10:07 AM Re: PM Says City Port Will Come [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

PM Says Cruise Port Is Coming to Belize City in 2015

In his New Year’s address Prime Minister Dean Barrow made all manner of promises, government spending which he claims will rival and even surpass the unprecedented spending in 2014. There was much of interest in that address, but one thing stood out, at least for tourism stakeholders and organizations like COLA who have been advocating for it. According to the PM, this is the year when Belize City will get its cruise port. It’s a significant commitment, and a timely one, since the new class of cruise ships on the horizon will absolutely require a docking facility. The PM acknowledged that while there is still some time, there’s not a whole lot of it.

Dean Barrow, Prime Minister

“Ships are still coming, but we know that ultimately they will cease to come if we don’t have an along-side docking facility, so time is running out, but there is still time. One way or another we will find some way to make it happen. I can’t tell you right now exactly how, but we will find some way to make it happen.”

Reporter

“Does that mean that you will give the green light to Stake Bank specifically?”

Dean Barrow

“I never said that Sir. I said that we will have a port one way or the other…whether it is Stake Bank or another port I am not in a position to say at this point.”

Reporter

“Are you all waiting for the case in February?”

Dean Barrow

“Not necessarily. We are trying to progress our thinking on the ways in which we can make this happen absent that. One thing I certainly want to do is to try to get FSTV and Stake Bank together. My sense is this is a quarrel over money and control…greed and lucre.”

Channel 5


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#503412 - 04/17/15 10:57 AM Re: PM Says City Port Will Come [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

PM Trying To Resolve Cruise Port Dispute

The Prime Minister is also dealing with another prickly local matter that has international implications. That's the matter of Belize's cruise future. As we have reported, the Fort Street Tourism Village and its competitor, Mike Feinstein's Stake Bank project are in court with the Government of Belize. There is a bevy of suits and countersuits - but the PM says, he's at least gotten both sides to the table to talk:...

Hon. Dean Barrow, Prime Minister
"The development is that, I had a discussion with Mr. Feinstein. Had a discussion with the Fort Street Tourism people, the two of them got together and so there is a little bit more clarity as to where we are, if not necessarily as to the way forward. Again, as to where that solution will come down - as to who the solution will favor - I don't want to be premature. I am trying to be extremely careful because any way you go, there is clearly going to be a degree of discontent. I don't want necessarily to lose FSTV. I certainly, I don't mind saying, would want to see Feinstein as the local, be able to proceed with the development of Stake bank."

Of course, the case has already gone to court. Principally, Mike Feinstein is challenging the ability of the Fort Street Tourism Village to collect tax - since, only the government can tax - and all taxes must go into the consolidated revenue fund. The PM says they may have to go to parliament to fix that:...

Hon. Dean Barrow, Prime Minister
"In terms of the case, quite frankly we expect to go to the House to legislate in terms of the so called head tax, which is a caused of contention in so far as there are arguments, so whether it is properly speaking, attacks and as to who really should have the benefits of portions of the tax, if we do called it a tax. We want to clarify that."

Reporter
"The FSTV who had retained the Barrow and Williams law firm, maybe not for you, but would that play any of those who are thinking that the PM law firm - would that play any kind of effect....?

Hon. Dean Barrow, Prime Minister
"Absolutely not and I think you all know me better than that. The company is free to retain which ever firms it wants. In fact going a little further than I intended to by telling you a little earlier, personally I would want to see the Feinstein project proceed, but I have to be careful. I do not want to lose Royal Caribbean's traffic to Belize and I certainly need to know where Carnival stands. We don't want to produce in our efforts to find a solution - we don't want to come up with a remedy that would kill the patient."

Channel 7


PM on Status of Tourism Developments

The government hasn’t been having much luck where mega-million dollar tourism investment in Belize is concerned. The interest is there, and perhaps so is the real intent, but the projects don’t seem to be able to get off the ground. Two of those grand-scale visions have been the Puerto Azul eight star resort complex and the Stake Bank Project. Both were heralded with much ado – but that’s about it. Today, the PM says that while one seems to be on hold, there may be some progress where the other is concerned.

Prime Minister Dean Barrow

“From the start I knew that there were some legal issues with the ownership of the property that the Puerto Azul people were trying to purchase but I haven’t had any recent or current information on how it’s all playing out. I really don’t know. The only thing I am aware of is the presentation made in Cannes. Since then I have heard nothing more and it is my sense that the project hasn’t been proceeding, but I really don’t know.”

Reporter

“Along that vein, could I ask…I understand there have been some developments in the situation with the Fort Street tourism Village and the Stake Bank Project?”

Prime Minister Dean Barrow

“The development is that I’ve had a discussion with Mr. Feinstein, had a discussion with the fort Street tourism people, the two of them got together and so there is a little bit more clarity as to where we are if not necessarily as to the way forward. I am also trying to have a discussion with Carnival as the biggest player in the mix in terms of ships that they are responsible for that call at the Belize port. That last conversation has not yet taken place. After that occurs I will want to see again the Fort Street tourism people and Mr. Feinstein because I will have a much clearer sense of where Carnival is in terms of my own thinking as to how we ought to proceed. Anyway you go there is clearly going to be a degree of discontent. I don’t want necessarily to lose FSTV. I certainly, I don’t mind saying, would want to see Feinstein as the local be able to proceed with the development of Stake Bank but I am very much walking a tightrope and I will come back to you as soon as the way forward becomes clearer.”

Channel 5


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#503825 - 04/30/15 11:16 AM Re: PM Says City Port Will Come [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

How To Resolve FSTV/Feinstein Dispute Out Of Court?

The other issued discussed in Miami was the future of cruise tourism in the Belize District. The Fort Street Tourism Village has a contractually guaranteed exclusive until for the next decade or more, while Mike Feinstein has parliamentary approval for his Stake Bank project. In the middle of all this is Carnival Cruise line which brings in the most cruise ships to Belize annually. So whose side are they on? They told the Prime Minister they are good with Stake Bank:..

Dean Barrow - Prime Minister of Belize

"Carnival then, in essence is saying - by all means get the new cruise port built, we will encourage that, we're not saying to you if you can't, we stop coming. And secondly they are saying, in terms of who builds it, that's for the government and Mr. Feinstein and FSTV to work out. I have said to the FSTV principals just last week before I went to Miami - that there thought, that they could build the cruise port at stake bank is not going to fly. Mr. Feinstein has made plain that he's not going to sell his island. He doesn't mind their partnering with him but in a minority role. And in any case as they have made clear to me, even if they had the island and they could raise the financing to construct the facilities - they would require a government guarantee of some 80 ode million US dollars. That's an absolute no, no. So as I said on the last occasion, in view of all this, government's preference to proceed with the Feinstein version of the project. The last thing I want is for Royal Caribbean, which is a partner is FSTV to say well, if you go ahead and build the new cruise port without first settling with us, our ships will stop coming. So, ultimately, the government will do what it has to do - and what it considers best in the overall interest of the country. But we still must make an effort to settle with FSTV. If we can't, then I'll come back to the nation and report and say where we go next.”

The Prime Minister may be travelling to Miami soon to meet with Royal Caribbean to find out their position.

Channel 7


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