News Five has been reliably informed that the dredging of the lagoon will cost almost two million Belize dollars to be completed and if local water taxis do not use the facility, the project will be deemed a white elephant. Currently, the operators have been docking at their own piers to the front of the island. It is known that one operator has already purchased prime property with the intention to build its own terminal on the beach front. That project, says Mayor Daniel Guerrero, does not have the support of the council.
Daniel Guerrero, Mayor, San Pedro
“All I know they are using the municipal dock at the moment and just recently we heard that the company that owns San Pedro Belize Express purchased what is known as Rubi’s Hotel and they are planning to make it their terminal there. And definitely the council is completely against [that] and we are going to stand firm on that. We believe that they need to go to the back and that’s why government invested seven point odd million dollars in that project. So that project needs to be used and that’s where they need to go. It’s not if they want, but they have to go. We have met and just recently I received an email from them and a company that wants to do a huge concrete dock with different departments like waiting room, cafeteria and the whole works and it is a big no from the council. To the front of the island and so I know that my council is definitely against.”
Guerrero says that before the end of the year, he will work to see the lagoon dredged so that local water taxis can use the facility.
No Local Arrivals to the Multimillion-Dollar San Pedro Water Terminal
There is an ongoing dispute in San Pedro as it relates to the use of the terminal on the lagoon side. The Sunset Boardwalk Project, valued at over six million dollars and funded through the Sustainable Tourism Programme, includes the San Pedro Water Terminal with docking facilities for water vessels transporting persons to and from the island locally and internationally. Even though the facility was officially opened almost five years ago in March of 2014, the local arrival section has never been used. Operators have not been up to using the lagoon side because dredging must be done within the lagoon to create a channel deep enough for the boats to traverse without hindrance to the terminal. But as we found out, there is political interference afoot and one operator, it appears, has ministerial support.
Daniel Guerrero, Mayor, San Pedro
“They are disrespectful in a way. My thing is that they are using the excuse that it is too shallow. But at any terminal, you have what is called a no-wake zone where you have to go real slow and then take off and they can do that, but they just don’t want to go to the back. Definitely the companies are insisting to stay on the front. That’s what they are doing; they want to stay on the front and we the council want them in the back because that project was designed for that. All the water taxis, including Caye Caulker Water Taxi, San Pedro Belize Express…everybody needs to go to the back. I think they are only using the international trips to Chetumal; that’s what they are using there for. Right now, the local ones from Belize City and Caye Caulker, everything is in the front right now.”
“Is there a deadline by which they must…”
“Well no. There is not a deadline because of the dredging; that’s the excuse they are using. But I will definitely in this 2019 put all my efforts to make sure that it is dredged and everybody goes to the back and use that terminal to the back.”