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#504253 - 05/15/15 11:14 AM Barrow Meets with Royal Caribbean,Norwegian Cruise
Marty Offline

Norwegian Cruise Lines Double Talk?

And so the PM meets with Feinstein tomorrow - looking for that possible partnership. But, one cruise corporation that could probably care less is Norweigan Cruise Line. That's because they are building their own cruise port in the south - and moving all their calls there. That was supposed to start happening in October - but construction delays have forced that date to sometime in 2016. Still, it's going to happen - which was not the deal they made with the PM and the public:..

Jules Vasquez
"You had said it would not affect the traffic into the Belize District port but, yet when we see their schedule though now, they had to change it up due to construction delays. Norwegian intends to send everything towards Harvest Caye."

Hon. Dean Barrow, Prime Minister
"Well you're perfectly correct, I had indeed said so and we had a memorandum of understanding that made that clear."

Jules Vasquez
"Sir, I know you wouldn't lie to us, so did they misrepresent to you?"

Hon. Dean Barrow, Prime Minister
"Well not just to me. There was, I think a press conference at which their honcho was present. I believe a press conference where Minister Hulse and Minister Hulse reiterated in their presence to the public that this was the deal. I'm not going to try to get away from the fact that indeed it appears as though if they had been able to start in October as planned, their intention was to divert all the traffic to the south and that would have caused a problem. But it can't happen now because they're not going to be operational for then. In terms of next year, then let's see how it goes."

Jules Vasquez
"However, you will try and hold them to their word? Because it's a consequential difference for the Belize District port."

Hon. Dean Barrow, Prime Minister
"There will have to be a serious discussion, let me not put it higher than that."

Barrow Met With Royal Caribbean, Feinstein Next

As we told you earlier, the Prime Minister returned from Miami today. He went there to meet with Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines, the co-owners of the Fort Street Tourism village.

He's still trying to find a way forward for the cruise future of Belize District. On one side, there's Mike Feinstein who has a plan to build the Stake Bank project. On the other is Royal Caribbean cruise line and Diamonds International which owns the Fort Street Tourism village. They have been guaranteed a certain amount of head tax right through to the year 2028. The Prime Minister has been doing some shuttle diplomacy trying to find common ground. Today he suggested that things may be budging in the right direction:...

Jules Vasquez
"Is there any clarity on the way forward?"

Hon. Dean Barrow, Prime Minister
"Well, the talks were instructive and certain proposals were discussed, but I don't want to say too much really because I have a meeting set for tomorrow at 3 with Mr. Feinstein."

Jules Vasquez
"However, I would imagine the central non-negotiable point is that FSTV has an agreement up until 2027/28 and if they stop receiving head tax, the government would be liable."

Hon. Dean Barrow, Prime Minister
"I don't know about that. I have legal opinions that speaks to the contrary. And I am saying I want to try to forge some sort of a compromise, because if we end up in a fight with RCCL, it is the easiest thing for them to simply pick up their marbles and leave while awaiting the outcome of any court case. That's not going to be in the interest of the country. It's not going to be the interest of Mr. Feinstein if he is to build the port. You need the throughput and Royal Caribbean is substantial in that regard. So, we are nowhere near to reaching a point where I would be prepared to say to RCCL 'you know what, we are simply going to parliament and pass some sort of a law that would free us from what you RCCL see as our contractual obligations.' We are nowhere to reaching that point. I hope we never get to that point and I will therefore continue to work to get the two sides together. I think that based on what I heard yesterday and hopefully based on what I will hear tomorrow, there may be a way forward. I believe that we can with the right amount of goodwill, the right amount of effort, try to put them back on track so that we might be able to do this in an atmosphere of co-existence and perhaps even partnership."

Channel 7


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#504375 - 05/20/15 11:06 AM Re: Barrow Meets with Royal Caribbean,Norwegian Cruise [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

No Cruise Compromise In Sight

Last week, Prime Minister Dean Barrow went to Miami to meet with executives of Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines. When he came back, he showed cautious optimism and said he would next meet with Mike Feinstein, the owner of the proposed Stake Bank project to discuss a possible compromise. Well, best information to 7News says that is not going to happen. As might have been expected, Feinstein has refused to relinquish the controlling interests in Stake Bank, and Royal Caribbean appears to have no interest in a minority shareholding. Of course, the situation is complicated, first, by the fact that Feinstein is suing Royal Caribbean and government over the head tax - and, second, by the other, little acknowledged fact that Royal Caribbean's partner in the Fort Street Tourism village, Diamonds International and Feinstein don't want to do business with each other.

So, right now, best information suggests, there is no compromise, no clear way forward, and eventually Government may just have to pick which horse it wants to ride into the future. In the meantime, Feinstein's Stake Bank Bill which was approved by parliament, has not been brought into force, which leaves him at a disadvantage with his creditors.

Channel 7


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