So, while the Caye Caulker is focused on the losses in tourism earnings caused by the utility failures, residents are telling us that there is another crisis that has also been slowly building. The island does not have an adequate sewage and liquid waste disposal system, and they tell us that with the growth of this community, sewage is about to become a big environmental hazard.
Here's how the chair of both the BTIA in Caye Caulker and the Village Council explained it to us on New Year's Eve:
Maria Vega - Chair, BTIA Caye Caulker "The liquid waste disposal plan with the Caye Caulker BTIA and the planning agencies has been on the table, and on our priority agenda for 30 years now. So, when we call the media again for another crisis with liquid waste disposal, it will not be an over-night emergency. This is building up for decades."
Seleny Villanueva-Pott - Chairperson, Caye Caulker Village Council "Since the last village council, we've been struggling to find a temporary solution because it's so costly. So, what we've done is we've hired a septic disposal service to come in on the island, every now and then to pump out the septics. But, this is only temporary. We need something more permanent, and if we don't do something sooner [rather] than later, we will feel the repercussions. So, again, we call on the proper agencies to please come in and assist us with this before it's too late."
We hope to discuss the topic with the Tourism Minister at tomorrow's utilities press conference.