Now the runway renovation isn't the only project happening on Caye Caulker. San Pedro Belize Express Water taxi is dredging near their pier. Now some expressed concerns that this project could be damaging to the environment and to the reef. But Area Rep Heredia says the project is quite safe and all residents will benefit from it.

Hon. Manuel Heredia, Minister of Tourism
"Permission was granted by the department of hydrology, I believe who are the pertinent body, to San Pedro Belize Express to do a dredging on the side of their pier, because the water was too shallow and propellers were breaking every now and then. So after studying that with the pertinent bodies, they decided to grant them a permit to do it with the condition that all the materials will be for the use of the community and hence you can ask in Caye Caulker I think 3 days now they have been on the streets - just the cost of transportation whatever. That is what they are charging. But the sand will be distributed to all needy people including the 3 schools that we have."

"The schools have received a substantial amount of that material. Material is extremely scarce and so this opportunity from this company paying for the dredging and donating all the materials. You cannot get a better deal than that and I am sure that if you call the majority of people over there, they will tell you that they are happy to be receiving this material in their yards, particularly with this weather."

"Usually when they give this permit, they ensure that you have a curtain that will not spill any silt to the reef. But I must say anything that you do have little negative effect."

Courtney Weatherburne, reporter
"Has the department of environment cleared this project?"

Hon. Manuel Heredia, Minister of Tourism
"It is done by all bodies: Fisheries, department of the environment and geology. That is the procedures."

Channel 7


Water Taxi Has Permission to Dredge in Caye Caulker

There have been complaints from residents on Caye Caulker that a dredging project may have adverse effects on the surrounding ecosystem and the barrier reef.  Since the beginning of this month, San Pedro Belize Express Water Taxi has been dredging a spot next to its docking pier on the island because its boats have been experiencing various challenges. And even though concerns continue to mount, Belize Rural South area rep and Minister of Tourism Manuel Heredia Junior says that permission was given by the Geology Department to the water taxi for its dredging activities. In fact, Heredia Junior says that residents have been benefiting from the project.

Manuel Heredia Jr., Area Rep., Belize Rural South

“A permission was granted by the department, Geology I believe which is the pertinent body, to San Pedro Belize Express to do a dredging on the side of their pier because the water was too shallow and the propellers were breaking every now and then. So after studying that with the pertinent bodies, they decided to grant a permit to them with the condition that all the material will be for the use of the community. And hence you can ask in Caye Caulker, I think three days now that I have been on the streets, for our people – just the cost of the transportation, whatever; that is what they are charging – but the sand will be distributed to all needy people including the three schools that we have. The schools have received a substantial amount of that material. Material is extremely scarce and so this opportunity from this company paying for the dredging and donating all the material; you cannot get a better deal than that.”
Duane Moody

“Sir but does it have any environmental impact?”

Manuel Heredia Jr.

“Surely when they give these permits they ensure that you have a curtain that will not spill any silt to the reef. But I must say anything you do has its little negative effects.”

Reporter

“But has the department of Environment cleared this project?”

Manuel Heredia Jr.

“Well inspection is done by all bodies; Fisheries, Department of the Environment and Geology; that is the procedure. Who went there for the inspection, I cannot tell you because it was somebody privately that was getting over there so he can better answer that.”

Channel 5