But all is not lost for Norwegian Cruise Line as it is now shifting attention to other islands for development in the southern Belize. Prime Minister Dean Barrow said that the rejection of Crawl Caye should not be interpreted as a rejection of cruise tourism.
Prime Minister Dean Barrow
“The word from the technical experts that we had meet with the Norwegian people is that in the form in which it was being proposed by Norwegian, Crawl Caye as the sight of cruise tourism development will not work. And so we have indicated to NCL that Crawl Caye is out. NCL I believe is interested in looking at other possibilities in the south of Belize. So I’ve stressed that we have not said a blanket no to any potential development for cruise tourism in the south at all. But certainly—in terms of all the constraints, in terms of all the considerations articulated to us by the technical people—it cannot, will not work on Crawl Caye. At one time, Riversdale had been suggested. I don’t know that NCL is interested in Riversdale. But I just make the point that there are other possibilities and we have not foreclosed on those possibilities. The no decision is limited to Crawl Caye.”
“So what in relation to the private interests in Belize City for cruise tourism and the environmental community who believe that southern Belize cruise tourism should not be open? What is government’s position on that?”
Prime Minister Dean Barrow
“Well that’s the point that i’ve just made. We do not accept that there can be any blanket prohibition in cruise tourism in southern Belize. I said last time that even with respect to Crawl Caye, the tour guide community in Placencia is strongly in support and we believe that you can find any number of players in the tourism industry that would suppport some kind of cruise project in southern Belize. So we will not say that the decision is a blanket prohibition. We will look at any proposal on a case by case basis. We will carry out the same sort of exercise. We have to remain certain that the right sort of balance can be maintained; that we are not sanctioning any proposal that in fact overall will be negative with respect to the environment. We made clear to NCL, even at the start of the discussion; that if the project were ever to see the light of day, their site would be limited to hosting calls only from ships of NCL—no other line would be able to go there. So there was never any question of a conflict between the interests of the Belize City people and the people of the south.”
The Prime Minister also mentioned a proposed development called Drowned Caye or Stake Bank which is under the auspices of the Feinstein group. He said a memorandum of understanding should be signed very shortly with the Feinstein’s.