Israeli N.G.O., TIME, Raises Funds to Purchase 5 Acres of Turneffe Atoll
An Israeli N.G.O. has raised funds for the purchasing of a portion of the Turneffe Atoll, within the UNESCO World Heritage Site. This is My Earth, TIME is an international organization to which anyone, at any age, can contribute anything, from a dollar onward. The N.G.O. used crowd funding to raise thirty-thousand dollars to buy five acres of the atoll. The parcel of land, which is private property, will not remain under the control of TIME, but rather be transferred to Turneffe Atoll Trust. Executive Director, Alex Anderson, says that the Trust and TIME have been in communications for the past three years, working on a plan to prevent further destructive development projects that have been occurring on the atoll.
Alex Anderson, Executive Director, Turneffe Atoll Trust
“Turneffe Atoll Trust recently launched several key documents one of them being ‘Risking the Atoll”. It’s been about two and three years that we have been working with TIME and we told them about the many destructive development projects that have occurred at Turneffe and that is what really bolstered their interest in trying to access in the purchase of a small portion of Turneffe. It’s five acres. It is private land. It is owned by a foreign company and so they contacted us and said that they have been able to assist us guy with raising some funds and so we are going to make that donation to you. At our end, Turneffe Atoll Trust just needs to ensure that when we execute the transfer of land from the private company to the Turneffe Atoll Trust we will ensure that it remains for conservation purposes only so it can be protected from destructive and unsustainable development.”
Turneffe Atoll Trust Says Parcel of Land Will Not Be Disturbed
According to Anderson, the five-acre piece of land is in a strategic position, preventing the development of the area for tourism. He says the land transaction will not include seabed or coral reefs.
Alex Anderson, Executive Director, Turneffe Atoll Trust
“As you know a lot of studies show that for areas so pristine as Turneffe when you destroy mangroves when you compare that areas, where the mangroves have been removed to areas that have been kept natural there, is ten times more fish abundant in those areas. So that is one of the primary reasons why we are protecting it. It will not be developed. It will remain as is in a natural stated.”
“By when do you expect the land transaction to be completed?”
“We are just setting up a meeting right now with the owners of the company that owns the property so I think in the next month or two we will be able to get the clearances to go ahead and purchase.”
“And when they say thirty-thousand, is that just for the land purchase or the works that are to come?”
“Just for the land purchase.”
“Which does not include seabed or coral?”
“No. this is five acres of land. It is not seabed. It is not coral. Let me just clarify a little bit. It is an Israeli group and you have to recognize that Turneffe is the largest and the most biological coral atoll in the western hemisphere. Their journalist got wind of this and they confused coral atoll with the land. This is five acres of private land. It does not include seabed. It does not include the coral reef. The seabed and coral reef in Belize is not for sale. That is not something that we will ever entertain for anybody.”
In December 2018, the Turneffe Atoll Trust published findings which showed destructive developments at the marine reserve. Turneffe Atoll is the largest atoll in the Western Hemisphere and is part of the Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System-inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1996.
Turneffe Atoll Trust Pledges Continued Protection of the Marine Reserve
The Turneffe Atoll is one of Belize’s seven marine protected areas. Located twenty miles east of Belize City, the Turneffe Atoll is considered the largest, most biologically diverse coral atoll in the Western Hemisphere. So when news of an Israeli N.G.O. buying a piece of the atoll broke, many concerns were raised. But as Executive Director of Turneffe Atoll Trust, Alex Anderson, explained on Wednesday, This is My Earth, TIME, managed to raise funds to purchase a five-acre piece of land privately owned by another organization. After the land transaction is completed, the title will be transferred to the Trust, which has pledged to maintain the natural state of the piece of land. Anderson says that the Trust has been on the lookout to make sure that all potential developers follow all laws and not destroy the habitat of the atoll.
Alex Anderson, Executive Director, Turneffe Atoll Trust
“I think when you look at Turneffe and understand the framework how land use plays into it, we need to recognized that an area and an atoll that is considered the most biologically diverse atoll in the western hemisphere requires, I think, a lot more stringent oversight when it comes to development activities. I think from a strategic perspective we don’t want to say no developments at Turneffe. But if there are ought to be developments, they need to be done responsibly. They need to go through the full EIA process. They need to ensure that all the required permits and regulatory agencies are on board. TASA has been notified. We both operate within Turneffe and as the co-managers; if they are not aware then something is drastically wrong. So yes they are aware. I cannot speak for them but from our end, Turneffe Atoll Trust, we are dedicated to ensure that when development projects pop up at Turneffe we will try our best and possible to reach out to the government agencies, to our partners in terms of the commercial fishermen, the private resorts on the Turneffe atoll, the private land owners. We will reach out to them to ensure that they know what the laws are; they know where to go and get the required permits. In terms of the permitting agencies, we will call you to see if there is any way we can assist in terms of getting boats out there to see when there are projects going on that are clearly illegal and not following the required laws.”
The Turneffe Atoll Trust has conducted a study on the environmental and economic effects of unsustainable development at the Turneffe Atoll. The study was presented in December 2018 with findings that show the breach of several environmental guidelines and regulations in the Environmental Protection Act and the Integrated Coastal Zone Management Plan. Today, the Turneffe Atoll Trust took a group of students and the media on a tour of the Atoll to see firsthand what the damages are. Alex Anderson, Executive Director at the Turneffe Atoll Trust said they call on developers to work within the regulations.
Alex Anderson Executive Director, Turneffe Atoll Trust:“We are an advocacy organization. We want to ensure that development projects at Turneffe follow the law, follow the EIA process. I mean we cannot nail home how important that is. There are a lot of developers that want to do things the right way you know and I think really us being an advocacy organization has a lot to do with educating private landowners and investors so that they all know what the right way of doing things is and I think a perfect example is one of the resorts that we are visiting today. They have one of the best EIA’s in my opinion done in Belize and we will get the opportunity to review some of the systems they have in place to show that there are developers that want to do things the right way and are willing to follow the law so I encourage private landowners and developers that want to do something if you all don’t know what the laws are, what the rules are reach out to us. We have a lot of information, we have the development guideline that summarizes every piece of environmental legislation that is in effect at Turneffe.”
The developments have damaged reef flats, mangroves, corals, sea grass and water quality, risking the economic benefits derived from the area, a highly valuable resource. Valentino Shal, a consultant who worked closely on the Risking the Atoll Analysis says the value ranges in the millions of dollars.
Valentino Shal Consultant: “The Turneffe Atoll provides a lot of economic benefits to the country in general but more specifically we get a lot of benefits from fishing and tourism in this area. This area where fishers as you can see them out there today harvesting conch and lobster for export so it generates a lot of income for fishermen and they come from different parts of the country. They come mostly from the north but they come from the Belize District as well and so to these fishers this is their livelihood and it is very important for them so it brings in significant revenue in that way and also for tourism. We have several high end lodges on Turneffe Atoll that provide tourism services for guests and visitors and to operate these places they need a lot of workers. They also generate jobs for Belizeans in that way but other destinations use Turneffe Atoll like Caye Caulker and San Pedro. Because this is a very prime sport fishing area due to the reef flats in this area you get other people coming in this area to use it and so when you combine the value of the conch and lobster fishery, the sport fishing and the tourism in general which includes swimming and diving and snorkeling, the reef out there. It generates approximately over half of a billion dollars for the country.”
We will have more on the trip today in tomorrow’s newscast
And, another marine protected area that's under pressure is the Turneffe Atoll.
In December the Turneffe Atoll Trust Brough it all into focus with a "Risking the Atoll document". Today, they took the media to the Atoll to see first hand the risks outlined in the report. Here's more from Valentino Shal:..
In all, the group went to three different locations on the atoll - and we will have the full story tomorrow.
So while the Nassau Grouper is facing extinction, at the Turneffe Island, overfishing is also a huge concern. The Turneffe Atoll was declared a marine reserve seven years ago and in 2018, environmental and an economic study was carried out. Today, we were treated to a look at the impact of development and fishing in the Turneffe. The Turneffe Atoll Trust has been at the forefront of promoting sustainable in the reserve where both the tourism and commercial fishing industries can coexist with conservation. News Five’s Isani Cayetano reports.
Isani Cayetano, Reporting
The largest coral atoll in Belize is fringed by the Turneffe Islands. It is one of three landmasses made up of hard marine deposits surrounding a lagoon that together form the Belize Barrier Reef. The impressive beauty of this cluster of islands from above, on terra firma and underwater makes it a prime attraction for visitors the world over. Its financial value for stakeholders in various sectors is incalculable.
Valentino Shal, Consultant, Turneffe Atoll Trust
“As you can see, this is a very beautiful area, a very pristine area. It supports a lot of economic activities, fisheries, tourism, sport fishing and so it has a lot of value for Belizeans, for the Belizean economy, for the government through taxation and it’s important that we maintain the integrity of the area as much as possible.”
On November 22nd, 2012, the Turneffe Atoll was officially declared a marine reserve, a protected area which now has legal safeguards against fishing and development on commercial scales.
Alex Anderson, Executive Director, Turneffe Atoll Trust
“Turneffe Atoll Trust is an advocacy organization and our goal is to ensure that we advocate for best practices to be put in place when it comes to development of the Turneffe Atoll, one. Two, we want to see a sustainable industry here at Turneffe, in terms of both the tourism and commercial fishing industries that a lot of stakeholders depend on.”
For the past thirty-eight years, Dale Fairweather has been fishing in these waters. Over time he has seen many changes that have affected this natural resource, for better or for worse.
Dale Fairweather, Fisherman
“My experience in working this area for so many years is that we use to catch a lot of lobster and conch and now it’s a few. You don’t catch as much as you would like to.”
“What would you say would be perhaps the primary reason why there has been a reduction in the kind of catch that you’ve made?”
“Well the primary reason is the fact that we have a, we don’t have a lot of enforcement and I think that’s over-fishing. We have too much fishermen. Right now it’s over nine hundred fishermen that have license to fish in Turneffe.”
It’s hard to imagine the stress that is caused by over-fishing on the marine ecosystem. To exacerbate the situation, developers of private properties on these islands constantly attempt to flout environmental laws by building outside of what is legally permitted. Our visit to one such location at Turneffe today succeeds the launch of an environmental and an economic study in 2018.
“Risking the Atoll is an environmental and an economic analysis of several destructive development projects at Turneffe. And so, at that session we had promised to give the media and viewers a firsthand experience of going and seeing what the magnitude of these developments look like firsthand. So today we came out, we went by the Hakimi’s Dive Haven this morning and really put into perspective the size of the development in terms of looking at what it took to have that development take place. We also highlighted that that development was first pushed forward as a residential development. As we can clearly see, it’s been more than twelve years, the place is still under construction and it still has not opened. I think we’re looking at these projects from a view of looking back at the past to see how the damage has occurred.”
That perspective is with a view to implement and enforce environmental laws in Belize. Today, a team of tertiary level students from the University of Belize, all majoring in Natural Resources Management, saw for themselves what has been taking place within the reserve.
Giselle Mahung, Student, University of Belize
“Currently we’re doing a course called Coastal Zone Management and being able to be on the ground and see the extent of developments within our country, putting the theory that we’ve learned in class into a more practical context, I think that this trip has provided an excellent opportunity to do that. And what we’ve noticed is that Belize has an excellent framework, however, that framework, today we’ve been able to see that that framework is not being implemented in certain cases.”
Last night we told you a little about the media's visit to the Turneffe Atoll. It was arranged by the Turneffe Atoll Trust. It follows up on a report compiled by the group, which is abbreviated as "TATS". That non profit organization produced a report in December called Risking the Atoll. And yesterday they showed us what some of those risks were, including a mega resort on Ropewalk Caye. Here's the story:..
Eden Garcia, UB - Ph.D researcher "I have been out here in Turneffe since 1996. I have seen from a very green place to these islands completely covered with vegetation to many of these islands now having some really some very large infrastructure."
Jules Vasquez reporting
And it gets no larger than this. If you're into towering slabs of glass and concrete - this promotional video of Sir Hakimi's Dive Haven should hit the spot.
But this is Ropewalk Caye in the Turneffe, and when we went there, it stuck out like a sore thumb - a pristine environment, juxtaposed against a glowering monument to "mega".
Dale Fairweather who has fished these waters for nearly three decades, says this 100 room resort has come at a great cost to the low lying island and the Marin habitat which surrounds it:
Dale Fairweather, full time fisherman "The impact that it had on my fishing around there is that you don't catch any lobster and conch anymore in that immediate area. A little bit to the north and south you catch, but the reef right in front of that property is next to dead."
Eden Garcia, UB - Ph.D. researcher "They have to spend more time out in the reef searching for conch, looking for lobsters. Its more effort that they have to put in and possibly because of all these changes that are occurring within the habitat where all these species use to reside and the quality of the environment is no longer. We are not maintaining the environment health."
And that's the concern for the Turneffe Atoll Trust. It's a non-profit group driving conservation efforts at the Turneffe Atoll:
Alex Anderson, Exec. Dir - Turneffe Atoll Trust "It's known as Hakimi's Dive Haven and that project started in 2005 and since it started there's been a lot of different things that have happened. The first instance when the project started it was perceived to be a residential development. To date they still have not done a full impact assessment."
TAT also challenged another development that it claims had not done an EIA and won:
Alex Anderson "On the initial onset they claimed that it was a residential development. They did not go through the EIA process and they started just development with an ECP and so we filed a lawsuit and the end of the lawsuit the judge basically said look you guys need to follow your own law, I hope this organization is taking you to court to tell you to follow your own law and it basically set the precedence that for any development here at Turneffe, it is required that a full fledge EIA be conducted."
Turneffe Flats - one fo the first developments on the Atoll has followed an environmentally sound approach to its development. Now, the owner is also the founder of the Trust - so, we weren't surprised when they led the press tour to him as an exemplar of all that is virtuous:
Craig Hayes, Turneffe Flats "I think that Turneffe has a tremendous economic value which is totally dependent on a healthy environment."
And, while there may be differences about how best to safeguard the environment, no one will argue that it matters more than any hulking concrete structure:
Eden Garcia, UB - Ph.D researcher "Not everyone is aware how important these environments are in particular the marine environment. It's very important not only for the health of the fish or the reef, but it's also important for the health of the people and the people who depend on these resources. Once these resources are depleted then we will be in trouble."
Valentino Shal "The idea here is to put the spotlight on Turneffe so that we can ensure that unsustainable activities are reduced or eliminate all together, because it is possible. The rules are there, people need to follow it."
Dale Fairweather, full time fisherman "I think what's going to happen eventually is that due to the way things are going in Belize, it will get to a point where they'd be overdevelopment, all the ecosystems are going to be damaged, fishing is going to be next to nothing because there won't be anything there for you to get. Even the tourists, nobody is going to want to come to Belize and see a dead reef."
That lesson really resonated with these UB students who went out to the Turneffe for the day to see first-hand what they have been learning about in class:
Kadeem Daniels, Natural Resource Dev. "I've read that Turneffe Atoll is one of the most biologically diverse atoll in the western hemisphere, so it is important for us to look at sustainable development especially."
Giselle Mahung, Nat. Resources Student "I'm being able to see the developments that are occurring in Belize. We are able to learn in theory the laws and regulations as well as be able to see how those laws and regulations are being followed as well as unfortunately in some cases how those laws and regulations are being broken by various developments throughout Belize."
We hope to have comment from Hakimi's Dive Haven tomorrow. We were unable to reach a representative today.
A recent trip to the Turneffe Atoll shows that there is large scale development in areas within the cluster of islands that are considered private property. Despite the acreages being individually held, there are issues of lack of environmental compliance, particularly where the building of massive commercial structures are concerned. Tonight, we look at the second of a two-part story on the Turneffe Atoll. News Five’s Isani Cayetano reports.
Isani Cayetano, Reporting
Development continues on the Turneffe Islands, despite efforts by advocacy groups to have existing environmental regulations enforced. On Monday, we ventured out to a location within the atoll where significant dredging has taken place during the construction of what appears to be a private resort.
Alex Anderson, Executive Director, Turneffe Atoll Trust
“When you look at the scope of both projects, we have a National Sustainable Tourism Master Plan that speaks to the type of development that our government and policymakers want to have in terms of the tourism industry going forward. Hakimi‘s development project is one that is a little bit over a hundred rooms. It is extremely difficult to see that fitting into the scheme of the tourism development master plan because of the size, the scope, the way the project went about. The project started and basically it went through as a residential development, they just went through and continued to build and build, didn‘t have and still have not done a full Environmental Impact Assessment, but still the development is there and they are still building.”
By Contrast, Turneffe Flats Resort which is on the eastern seaboard of the Blackbird Caye has gone about its development in an environmentally compliant and friendly manner.
“In terms of looking of looking at Turneffe Flats Resort, we need to think about three things. One, I want you to think about size and scale, Hakimi’s is a hundred and six rooms. Turneffe Flats is roughly about, I think it can hold twenty-eight clients. So that‘s a big difference. Two, in terms of dealing with the solid waste, we will get an opportunity to walk through the bio-systems that are in place at Turneffe Flats for their development, in terms of dealing with their solid waste and waste generated from the atoll in terms of the development.”
Development aside, there is a greater need for Belizeans to appreciate value of the Turneffe Atoll in respect of its economic importance.
Valentino Shal, Consultant, Turneffe Atoll Trust
“I think Belizeans in general are aware of the treasure that we have out here. I don‘t know if they are fully aware of the numbers. I know that Belizeans appreciate the environment, they appreciate the Turneffe Atoll and want to make sure that it‘s taken care of, but I don‘t think that a lot of people are fully aware of the economic value that it currently generates for us. So in this area, this is a very large conch and lobster fishery area and we export those products and our local fishermen who harvest in this area benefit from that, from income and employment. So that‘s a huge benefit that comes from this natural capital.”
Hakimi Haven Environmentally Compliant Says Developer
Last night we showed you our tour with the Turneffe Atoll Trust. They showed the media concerns with mega-developments in that fragile ecosystem and pointed us to Hakimi's Dive Haven, a hulking hundred room resort on ropewalk Caye. It does not have an environmental impact assessment.
The concern is the volume of dredging that was done around the flats surrounding the island and the the solid waste disposal plan for the mega development. He adds that they had an environmental audit, and are compliant with environmental requirements.
Well, today a representative of Hakimi's told us that indeed they have no EIA, but they do have an environmental compliance plan. He added that solid waste will be returned to the mainland, while sewerage and grey water will go into a specially designed system. He says the development will hire at least 300 people.
Multimillionaire Sir Hakimi Talks Turneffe Threats and Hype
Last week Tuesday we took you to Turneffe Atoll. The Turneff Atoll Trust team wanted the media and the public to get up close and personal to see the beauty and richness of the Atoll and also to see the threats. One such threat comes in the form of large scale/mega developments on the island including Belize Dive Haven. It's owned by a multi-millionaire Canadian- Iranian businessman Sir Karim Hakimi. As we reported, the Trust says that Hakimi did not carry out an EIA before building a hundred room hotel on this fragile ecosystem.
Well, today, Sir Hakimi sat down with 7News and explained that his Belize Dive Haven is being falsely represented as an environmental hazard or threat to the Atoll when he says his development has significantly improved the area. Here's how he put it:
Belize Dive Haven is not officially opened as yet. We will have more from Sir Hakimi in tomorrow's news.
Last night you saw a snippet of developer Karim Hakimi's exclusive interview with 7News. He says his towering Belize Dive Haven Resort is just what the Turneffe Atoll needed to boost the aesthetics of the place and to increase tourist arrivals. The Turneffe Atoll Trust - whcih sees things from a conservation perspective - begs to differ. Courtney Weatherburne takes a closer look at Hakimi's investment outlook on his resort and what makes it so special.
Courtney Weatherburne reporting
Sir Karim Hakimi's life is a rags to riches story. He was a poor Iranian blacksmith and now he is a multi-millionaire known for his chain, Hakim Optical, the largest privately owned chain in Canada.
10 years ago he fell in love with Belize, specifically the barrier reef, so he bought what was once marsh land on Ropewalk Caye within the Turneffe Atoll, and built this mega 400-acre resort called Belize Dive Haven. Its size and scale surpass the usual conservation - oriented, nature-based, eco-friendly resorts down south.
Sir Karim Hakimi, Owner, Belize Dive Haven "It was swamp and insect, tremendous and no one could stand it even for hours. However, I had to raise the island by 4 feet, which took a couple of years, over a year, and so I started building. And so my dream was to turn that swamp into a paradise and have tourists come to enjoy the diving and this place and bring some foreign currency to this country."
"I built a beautiful hotel, beautiful swimming pool, one of the swimming pool is 260 feet long with the patio around it with the sitting with children swimming pool and adult swimming 6:32 pool."
"It is a huge place and eventually we have tennis court, we have a lot of entertainment, we have boats to rent, not only the boating but we have lots of other horses and lots of activities."
"I have been in a lot of luxury hotels and I thought that I want to make something in Belize that even in North America, Central American and South America doesn't exist. What I built isn't even similar to Cancun."
Well, Hakimi's dream resort hasn't been openly embraced by everyone, especially the Tutneffe Atoll Trust. The Trust is doing all it can to protect the Atoll but says developments like Belize Dive Haven Resort affect the livelihood of fishers in the area and pose a serious threat to the sustainability this pristine marine reserve.
Alex Anderson, Executive Director, Turneffe Atoll Trust "Since it started there has been a lot of different things that have happened. The first instance when it started it was perceived to be a residential development, to date they still have not done a full environmental impact assessment."
But Sir Hakimi says when he began building his resort no one came to bother him about an EIA, even up until this day he doesn't even know what that is.
Sir Karim Hakimi, Owner, Belize Dive Haven "First of all when I started there was another government. Every government authority came, they admired me, they thanked me for what I am doing because I am cleaning a swamp."
"Everything I did was perfect, I have never been discouraged, in fact I have been encouraged. Now when the government changed, then in the second government, then everyone start asking certain questions that didn't exist in the first place."
"So far no one seriously came to become an obstacle and they are asking a few things which is normal then we provide them, every one of them, I have a few people that I have to hire them because I live mostly in Canada and a lot of this stuff that they want is beyond me. I am an optical person, I am a scientist in line with optics."
Courtney Weatherburne, reporter "So you are not sure what they are asking for when they ask for an environmental impact assessment?"
"I don't know what they are going to do with it, but they want this, they want that but what they are going to do with it is beyond my understanding but that is the law, we follow it."
But there seems to be a disconnect between the Turneffe Atoll Trust and the Department of the Environment to enforce the laws when it comes to development in this area.
Alex Anderson, Executive Director, Turneffe Atoll Trust "I think a lot of times when you try to communicate with government agencies, these agencies are operating with lack of funding and so there are a lot of issues along the line. But we have noticed that recently we have been able to open a few channels, I think moving forward we will be able to communicate with them a lot more but what I want you to recognize is that it hasn't always been good in the past."
So as the Trust and the authorities work on strengthening their relationship, Hakimi will continue working on his resort, one he sees as nothing short of a blessing to Belize and one among several projects he believes hasn't gotten the appreciation and praise it deserves.
Sir Karim Hakimi, Owner, Belize Dive Haven "All this stuff I did is unique, very unique but there is no one to really look into it and appreciate it and say thank you. I haven't had one person invite me for a cup of tea and say what you have done, no one did before and it hurt my feelings, that is why I am a bit emotional."
There is no official opening date for the resort as yet, but Hakimi says he expects to start advertising in the next 2 months.
We contacted Executive Director of the Turneffe Atoll Trust Alex Anderson to get his response to Sir Hakimi's comments. Anderson says contrary to what Hakimi says, the dredging has caused significant damage to the back flat reefs and to the permit fish habitat near the Caye. Anderson says the confusion began from the start when the project was advertised as a residential development which wasn't the case at all. According to Anderson, throughout the years DOE and the mining department had served stop orders during the construction but admits that there wasn't strict enforcement and proper follow through to get Hakimi to halt construction. But Anderson says all that is water under the bridge because the resort is pretty much complete and the damage has been done. Anderson says the focus now is to learn from the past slips ups. Anderson says going forward no developer will have it so easy to construct in the Atoll.
Hakimi Says Waste Will Be Managed
Another concern the Atoll Trust has is how will Belize Dive Haven Resort dispose of solid waste. Sir Hakimi says he's got it under control and no waste will be released into the sea.
Sir Karim Hakimi, Owner, Belize Dive Haven "We spent almost a quarter million dollars to put a British design sewage that it goes through the system and the solid separate from the liquid and the water that comes out of it becomes drinking water, the water almost becomes drinking water. You can put fish in it and it lives forever. We use it for agriculture and for trees."
Hakimi Has Investment Formulas
Belize Dive Haven isn't the only investment Sir Hakimi has in Belize. He has a pizzeria at mile 8 on the Philip Goldson Highway which he will expand. He plans on opening a luxury restaurant, a rooftop disco and a shipyard at the same mile 8 location. He told us more about his upcoming projects.
Sir Karim Hakimi, Owner, Belize Dive Haven "What I am trying to do is have a shipyard so all the big boats can be repaired here and nothing goes out of this country in fact get big boats from the other area come here especially from the US."
"Second people need to eat somewhere. They need to have a luxury place those they can afford and that are really good for wedding, go to somewhere for luxury dining. They should be luxury dinning. I spent a lot of money to make all the Mahogany in that dining room. Everything is handmade mahogany, right here in fine dining. Second floor is offices, the patio I made for the Italian pizzeria and rooftop for people who like dancing rather than go to a bar that is a dingy dungy dark place where you don't know who you are talking to a place that is a roof top fresh air and you can sit in open air with soft music."
Hakimi says he even wants to build an orphanage sometime in the future. Sir Hakimi says his overall investment in Belize so far is $200 million US dollars.