Usher's Outraged At

South Water Caye Dredging

"I'll take it up with NEAC" - that's what CEO of the Ministry of Natural
Resources Allan Usher told us today.

NEAC is the National Environmental Appraisal Committee and Usher is
referring to the dredging of a number of islands in the South Water Caye
World Heritage Site.

Usher says NEAC should never have approved the dredging. And while we
admire his outrage, as CEO, usher probably didn't get the memo which makes
it established practice that even within reserves, NEAC does not review
mining licenses - those are the sole domain of the Geology Department.

Usher told us about the NEAC inquiry as he extended on his explanation that
his Ministry of Natural Resources knows nothing of who has bought or gotten
tenure to the islands in the Pelican Caye Range.

But someone does have tenure to those islands and was issued mining
licenses which authorised the dredging.


Did dredging of Pelican Cayes contravene permit?

In a follow up to our story last night on environmental degradation in the
Pelican Cayes, News 5 has been able to determine, based on data supplied by
the Geology Department, that two dredging permits, each for sixteen
thousand cubic yards, were issued to Treasure Cove Resort in 2006.

An initial comparison of the coordinates on the permits and the actual site
of the dredging indicate that the fill may have been extracted from a site
some six hundred and fifty feet away from the approved area.

It also appears that on one of the two cayes, mandatory containment devices
were not used, resulting in accelerated runoff into the surrounding coral
studded seabed. We have not yet been able to determine exactly when the
cayes in the marine reserve passed from government to private ownership or
who precisely owns the two cayes.