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Ruling Won't Stop ACCSD from Protecting Cayo Rosario #536702
06/07/19 02:35 PM
06/07/19 02:35 PM
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 72,113
oregon, spr
Marty Offline OP

Marty  Offline OP
Hol Chan Marine Reserve is the #1 attraction for tourists that visit Ambergris Caye; this protected area and national jewel generates millions of dollars for the community and the government of Belize. Cayo Rosario sits in the middle of the Hol Chan Expansion, protected as a productive fish nursery, world-renowned catch and release sport fishing zone and important migration corridor.

On May 30, 2019, the Supreme Court of Belize refused leave for Judicial Review in the case brought forward by the Ambergris Caye Citizens for Sustainable Development (ACCSD) against the Department of Environment (DOE) regarding the approved development at Cayo Rosario.

While the Environmental Impact Assessment and Environmental Compliance Plan between the developer and the DOE have been approved and signed, the Cayo Rosario development group still requires permits from the Ministry of Natural Resources for dredging permits, mangrove clearing permits from the Forestry Department, as well as permissions from the Belize Fisheries Department to develop a portion of a national marine reserve.

The Belize Fisheries Act, Hol Chan Regulations (2015) clearly states that, "No Person within the boundaries of the reserve shall erect any structures temporary or permanent unless authorized by the Fisheries Administrator.”

The Ambergris Caye Citizens for Sustainable Development reiterates its commitment to the people of Ambergris Caye, and we will continue our advocacy to each of these Government departments to deny these permits and permissions on the basis that the proposed development activities will irrevocably damage ecologically and economically the important sand flats and seagrass beds around Cayo Rosario.

Located off the west coast of Ambergris Caye, Cayo Rosario is a six-acre island rich in both terrestrial and marine life. In 2015, the tiny caye and the surrounding areas were determined to be critical to Ambergris Caye, and its flats fishing industry, delicate shoals, and flats were included in the expansion of the Hol Chan Marine Reserve called The Cayo Rosario Conservation Zone.

Our local leaders, Minister Heredia, along with San Pedro Mayor Daniel Guerrero, initiated the formation of the Wetlands Committee that included ACCSD. ACCSD then advocated for and funded the research that resulted in the Hol Chan Reserve 2015 expansion to be approved for these very reasons.

Last year, in May 2018, Ambergris Caye citizens were stunned when they learned that the National Environmental Advisory Board (NEAC) and the DOE had approved the plan for a mega-resort on the tiny island after the overwhelming objections by local stakeholders to the proposed project. The approved Cayo Rosario Development Plan calls for 50 island bungalows on the private island as well as 54 over-the-water structures over the protected fishing flats. For these reasons local stakeholders vehemently objected to the project at the public consultation, through print and social media and correspondence to the DOE and NEAC.

This recent decision of May 30th is disheartening but does not deter the ACCSD from moving forward towards our goal: to stop destructive development, massive dredging, and over-the-water structures in Belize’s Hol Chan Marine Reserve. Especially in this vital Conservation Zone that our community and local leaders fought so hard to protect. The ACCSD is examining all approaches to ensure that this does not happen.

The Department of Environment has the legal mandate to protect our environmental resources and ensure its sustainable use for future generations. But when they fail to follow their own laws and guidelines, we, as Belizeans, must hold them accountable.

The ACCSD appeals to Mayor Guerrero, San Pedro Town Council, Minister Heredia, and local stakeholders to help take action to make sure that this important area is not destroyed.

For more information and to find out how you can help, please contact the ACCSD, see our website and visit

Re: Ruling Won't Stop ACCSD from Protecting Cayo Rosario [Re: Marty] #536866
06/19/19 06:19 AM
06/19/19 06:19 AM
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 72,113
oregon, spr
Marty Offline OP

Marty  Offline OP

The Fisheries Administrator Has the Final Say in Cayo Rosario

But even with the green light, is there still an opportunity to stop the project – at least when it comes to the over-the-water structures that will be erected within the protected area? Director Miguel Alamilla, who is the former manager of the Hol Chan Marine Reserve and was instrumental in the expansion of the protected area, says that the buck stops with the Fisheries Administrator. Alamilla says the Fisheries Administrator has the legal authority to give the final nod of approval.

Miguel Alamilla, Director, A.C.C.S.D.

“Well the court has given a ruling and we have a right to appeal up to the twenty-eighth of this month. So we are looking at that, but also the court gave a ruling on the issuance of the environmental compliance plan that the NEAC has given to the developer. They still have to apply for several other permits: building permits, dredging, whatever other permits they need for the development. Now the over-the-water structure is happening inside a protected area and this protected area has a legislation attached to it. So the bottom-line is that the management of the marine reserve, they have a board—it is also under the Fisheries Act so the Fisheries Department has oversight of that marine reserve—they have the last say. They say yes or no. As the legislation is written, the fisheries administrator has the authority to authorize or not authorize any development within that protected area.”

Channel 5

Re: Ruling Won't Stop ACCSD from Protecting Cayo Rosario [Re: Marty] #536912
06/22/19 06:23 AM
06/22/19 06:23 AM
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 72,113
oregon, spr
Marty Offline OP

Marty  Offline OP

Minister Heredia Sides with Environmental Group

The decision to allow the development was made in 2018 by the National Environmental Advisory Board and the Department of Environment. The project calls for fifty island bungalows as well as fifty-four over-the-water structures over the protected fishing flats. It is for these reasons that stakeholders are vehemently opposed to the project. Minister Heredia says that as a politician he cannot ignore the concerns of his constituents.

Manuel Heredia Jr., Minister of Tourism

“When I spoke with the developer I told him that as a politician I always have to be with my people. I love development and if you can see there are many big projects that have happened in Caye Caulker, on the peninsula and San Pedro, and I applied development. But anytime when it comes to the point when my people are not happy with a project even though it might be good for our people or the island I will still be on the side of the people. They are the ones that put me over there; they are the ones who can get me out. As a politician I will never sacrifice my political for anything that they believe that is not in the best interest of our island.”


“How familiar are you with this group of residents who are opposed to the project? How big are they in the scheme of things?”

Manuel Heredia Jr.

“Well let us presume that they are not a big group but nonetheless they have concerns for the island. I have to respect their ideas and beliefs and to my knowledge it is not only that particular group. It is also the tour guides that are against the project.”

Channel 5

Re: Ruling Won't Stop ACCSD from Protecting Cayo Rosario [Re: Marty] #537780
08/15/19 06:34 AM
08/15/19 06:34 AM
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 72,113
oregon, spr
Marty Offline OP

Marty  Offline OP

Minister Heredia Says He is with Tour Guides on Cayo Rosario

What’s happening with Cayo Rosario? Minister of Tourism Manuel Heredia Junior says he doesn’t know what’s going on over on the caye, but he doesn’t approve of any over-the-water structures and that he is not for any dredging taking place there.  About seven weeks ago, Heredia told News Five that he didn’t believe the proper process of consultation was conducted and didn’t believe in the results of the environmental assessment.  As you will recall, San Pedranos are not happy about the mega development proposed for the small island that lies within an expansion zone of the Hol Chan Marine Reserve.  Residents took the matter before the court but the court ruled in favour of the developer. The now privately owned caye is expected to be used to build a multi-million dollar tourist accommodation. Today, Heredia says he stands with the tour guides and operators.

Manuel Heredia Jr., Minister of Tourism

“All that I know is that there will be no dredging. As far as I am concerned, I am not supporting the over-the-water-structure. I still maintain that up to this point and I will be behind the tour guides or tour guides that area against it. I will be behind them to support that cause. And, again, I will know that area and I know the habitat that are around; the abundance of marine life, although the consultant has said otherwise. I know the area as a fisherman. I know it really well and I believe that it is supposed to be left as it is.”

Channel 5

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