The last time you heard the name Dark Night, was when FECTAB was complaining of the height requirement that the National Institute of Culture and
History wanted to enforce for tourists visiting the Nohoch Che'en cave.
Well, FECTAB’s president, Tom Greenwood, is bringing that name up once again because he says that the business owner is trying to stop them from using
the Dark Night Caves, which is under a co-management contract with NICH.
Greenwood claims that the management of NICH says that they have rights to use the caves just like the business owner. The only problem is that there
is only 1 road which leads there, but part of the road passes through a piece of land that the Dark Night owner bought.
Greenwood claims that this man is blocking the road, on the basis that it is private property, thus preventing access to the caves.
Now, FECTAB wants the Government to intervene. And that’s because the need is acute: this was the only cave still opened yesterday because the rains
caused all the others to flood:
Tom Greenwood - President FECTAB
"What we got was a 3 year co-management contract granted by NICH quite some time back to an entity that is running cave tubing tours at a cave called
Dark Night which is to the east of what we call Nohoch Che'en caves branch at mile 37. When the caves at caves branch are flooded a couple of hundred
tour guides, these are all native Belizeans tour guides are out of work and also over 200 tour operators. Not to mention the several hundred guests who
come to Belize and can't do the cave tubings because of the rains. What is happening here is that they're 4 precedence. We had the scenario of Barton
Creek in the Cayo district which a Canadian gentleman tried to control access. The government moved in and corrected that. Then we had one at the ATM,
the government moved in and corrected that. We had one at Hummingbird, the government moved in and corrected that. He had one at Jaguar Paw, and I was
directly involved in that one, the government came in and corrected that. Easily because it's within government's power to correct scenario's like
that. All 4 of these were people from abroad. Now a fifth person, a Canadian gentleman, who's been living in Belize, has now gotten this co-management
contract from the National Institute of Culture and History to use Dark Night caves but the real issue there is that there is a public access road
right up to the caves, but the gentleman controls land on this road and therefore Belizeans and others are being denied use of this road. We are saying
with a stroke of the pen, the government of Belize notably, the Ministry of Natural Resources can do what they did at Barton Creek, at the ATM, at
Jaguar Paw and at the Hummingbird Highway and that is grant access to anyone, not just native Belizeans, but anyone else who wants to use the Dark
Night cave. Now, Mr. Morris from NICH has also told us quite frankly, that while yes the 3 year contract exists, it does not give any kind of
exclusivity to the use of the cave and he said point blank, if you can find a way to get to those caves, guides and tour operators of Belize, please do
so, we want to see you using it. Well we can but the Ministry of Natural Resources has to help us. This is a public access road that is being locked
Greenwood and other FECTAB members have a press conference to expand on the issue.