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Development in Cayo Rosario? #547519
01/14/21 12:16 PM
01/14/21 12:16 PM
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Marty Offline OP

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Monzerrath Castillo:
Word has it that development in one of the cayes where tour guides offer eco tourism will under go major development. Development in Cayo Rosario has been an ongoing feud between government and local tour guides from the island of San Pedro since it is one of the cayes that is a nesting ground for the many species of birds and also for marine life. It is very controversial that this island got sold being that it is within a area designated a reserve. The acquirement of this island was done during the watch of the then Minister of Natural Resources and now Prime Minister. After an ongoing battle to regain the island and to stop any major development it is being Rumored that it has finally been approved for development. Prime Minister, Minister of The Blue Economy and Minister of Natural Resources what do you have to say to SAN PEDRANOS TO THE TOUR GUIDES????

Ambergris Caye Citizens for Sustainable Development - ACCSD:
If this is true, what happened to the "Blue Economy"? Private development within a Conservation Zone of the Hol Chan Marine Reserve and displacement of traditional users (Fishermen/Tour Guide) does not confer to the sustainable development approach that the "Blue Economy" represents. In this first 100 days, we request clarity and more meaningful consultation with stakeholders from our leaders.

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Re: Development in Cayo Rosario? [Re: Marty] #547521
01/14/21 01:37 PM
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Re: Development in Cayo Rosario? [Re: Marty] #547546
01/15/21 07:06 AM
01/15/21 07:06 AM
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Hon. Andre Perez

The Minister of Blue Economy and Civil Aviation vehemently denies allegations being circulated under the guise of fake profiles on social media. The Ministry has not given its approval for any project on Cayo Rosario or any other development project at this time. In accordance with its mandate, the Ministry is carrying out its due diligence in familiarizing itself with existing opportunities for economic gain for the islands San Pedro and Caye Caulker and the entire country by extension. It is doing so guided by the principles of environmental responsibility, inclusivity and fairness to all involved.

Re: Development in Cayo Rosario? [Re: Marty] #550931
06/18/21 04:33 AM
06/18/21 04:33 AM
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Minister of the Blue Economy comments on the proposed development of Cayo Rosario

In November 2020, the new government created the Ministry of the Blue Economy manned by Area Representative for Belize Rural South (Ambergris Caye and Caye Caulker), the Honourable Andre Perez. In a recent interview, Perez touched on the delicate topic calling it ‘very controversial.’ He said that it has many implications because it sits in the middle of a marine reserve- the Hol Chan Marine Reserve. “In tourism, there is something called fly fishing. It fetches thousands of dollars. This a sport for rich people; there is big money involved,” said Perez. “So, whenever you are talking about Cayo Rosario, it sits in the middle of this very precarious situation,” Perez added that this is something his government inherited from the previous administration. Now he must deal with it and decide how to proceed, even though the project has already been approved.

Some stakeholders were unhappy when Perez stated, “Perhaps, we can take Cayo Rosario as a clear model of what is the Blue Economy, where the investor can benefit, but the fisher folks will not lose their waters, and then, the environment is preserved.” According to Perez, the National Environmental Advisory Board and the Department of Environment approved building a limited amount of these structures. Perez was clear that the developer can build over the water but cannot dredge. This is the worst fear as it could alter the flats where fly fishing thrives. “The dredging cannot occur,” Perez pointed out. “They need to bring filling for the island from somewhere else.”

Click here to read the rest of the article in the San Pedro Sun

Re: Development in Cayo Rosario? [Re: Marty] #550968
06/21/21 04:28 AM
06/21/21 04:28 AM
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Again and again these huge projects get pushed thru in the name of jobs. But what about our multi-million dollar flyfishing industry on Ambergris Caye? What about those jobs? All of these over the water structures should NOT happen in the Hol Chan Marine Reserve. Our new representative stood against this project before he was in power and now what?

See: http://DefendCayoRosario.com for more.
I'm signing this. http://chng.it/JrWkXQxrHm

On behalf of the flats fishing community, tour guides, tour operators, tourists of Belize, and commercial fisherman of San Pedro, Caye Caulker and Sarteneja, we hereby present signatures on this statement that opposes any development that includes over the water structures, dredging and filling of rock materials in flats habitats of Hol Chan Marine Reserve, including Cayo Rosario. Flats habitats include bottom of seagrass, rocky, sand and mud.

The flats located within the Hol Chan Marine Reserve are also home to a very healthy population of Bonefish, Permit, and Tarpon. Thousands of anglers each year travel to Belize, and fish for these highly prized catch and release game fish. The sport fishing industry in Belize generates US $ 56 million each year, supports over 2100 direct jobs and hundreds of local tour guides and their families, boosts the hotel industry, and provides income for local restaurants and business.

===========

A letter from Mito Paz

Here is a letter i wrote to the Minister of Natural Resources 3 years ago regarding the development of Cayo Rosario. It is our understanding that GOB has given the green light for the development of Cayo Rosario despite over-whelming objection from the community.

I am writing with great concern—indeed, outrage—about the recent approval of the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) for Cayo Rosario Development Project within the newly expanded Hol Chan Marine Reserve, Belize’s most popular marine reserves.

Recognizing both the threats and potential of the Bird Sanctuaries, Green Reef developed a management plan (1991) for the two Bird Sanctuaries on the Leeward side of Ambergris Caye and presented to the Government of Belize (GOB) a proposal for the expansion of the present sanctuary boundaries to include the nesting and feeding grounds of the avian population which have been identified by the Coastal Zone Management Authority/Institute (CZMA/I) as at-risk with inadequate protection. An increase threat to the avian population in this area had been identified as speculative real estate development on the nesting cayes and wetlands. For this reason, Green Reef presented a proposal to the GOB to raise the funds necessary for the purchase of the remaining cayes so that they could be preserve in their natural state.

While Green Reef fully understands, and supports the present administration’s necessary and substantive commitments to conservation and economic development, we feel the development of the Cayo Rosario within the Hol Chan Marine Reserve is grossly lacking in foresight, the reasons for which are fourfold:

1. The destruction of the avian population at Cayo Rosario. When the developers acquired Cayo Rosario, they hired a group of workers to destroy all the nest, eggs and baby chicks on the island. They also shot and killed all the adult birds that were using the caye for nesting and roosting. This has been the most disgusting act of eco-terrorism that I have ever witnessed. The actions of the developers are a violation of the Wildlife Protection Act of 1981 which provides for the conservation, restoration and development of wildlife in Belize.

Furthermore, as one of the countries to have ratified the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands of International Importance especially as Waterfowl Habitat, Belize has made the commitment to conserve wetlands situated on its territory and protect its national heritage. These actions are in clear violation of the Ramsar Convention.

2. Development of Cayo Rosario as proposed by the developers is in direct contradiction with the principles of the National Sustainable Tourism Master Plan for Belize. The development of the Cayo Rosario Development Project would be detrimental to the tourism industry as well as to country of Belize in the eyes of the international community as Belize has built an image of an eco-friendly destination with utmost dedication to our environment and sustainable development.

Nature has blessed Belize with an abundance of splendid natural resources. Prominent among the nation’s assets are its populations of bonefish, permit and tarpon and the shallow flats, lagoons and rivers they frequent. Belize possesses one of the world’s best fish nurseries, thanks to its mangroves, seagrass beds, corals and tiny cayes, such as Cayo Rosario, where birds nest, rest, roost and ultimately provide nutrients to marine life.

Not surprisingly, Belize is well-known among salt water fly fisherman. For these sport fishermen, the most prized species are bonefish, permit and tarpon. Sport fishing for bonefish, permit and tarpon creates truly impressive economic activity for Belize, employment for as many as 2,100 of its citizens, generation of a gross annual revenue of BZD$112 million (Fedler 2013) and considerable tax revenue for the GOB. Because virtually all sport fishing is catch and release, sport fishing is a sustainable activity that can continue to generate substantial direct and indirect economic contributions for future generations of Belizeans.

3. The delicate health of the Hol Chan Marine Reserve is an economic asset that cannot be squandered, even for the benefit of temporary construction jobs or financial gain to a limited number of investors and workers.

The Cayo Rosario Development Project proposes to construct 40 over-the-water bungalows, 12 mangroves bungalows, 15 island villas and other amenities; a 2.5 km underwater electrical and sewage pipeline; and dredging of 55,000 cubic meters of sand from the marine reserve. All of the above mentions activities will have a negative impact on the marine reserve and the livelihood of local tour guides.

Adverse impacts to the health of these ecosystems will cost many more jobs on Ambergris Caye and elsewhere in Belize than any developer can credibly promise to create. In strictly economic terms, the Hol Chan Marine Reserve is more important than any one development or group of developments. Further development of Cayo Rosario cannot be justified on the basis of “economic growth” or “enhancing tax revenues” because such development will actually impede economic progress and tax revenues over the long term. Ambergris Caye already shows signs of being overbuilt, and existing businesses—the people who have long lived and already invested here.

4. Overwhelming objection by the community of San Pedro. Approval of the EIA by the National Environmental Appraisal Committee (NEAC) comes despite overwhelming objection by the community of San Pedro to the construction of the over-the-water structures and extensive dredging within the newly expanded Hol Chan Marine Reserve.

For all of the above reasons, we strongly encourage the government of Belize to pursue an alternative path for tourism development that celebrates Hol Chan Marine Resreve’s outstanding natural value to humanity, provides sustainable economic opportunities for Belize and its citizens, and ensures the environmental and economic health of the people of Belize.

The Hol Chan Marine Reserve is internationally recognized around the world for its outstanding natural value to humanity. It is important for both its marine and terrestrial habitats, including the area’s wetlands, mangroves, reef, seagrass, sport-fishing shoals and wildlife.

The Hol Chan Marine Reserve and Cayo Rosario are not only national treasures for Belize, but they are also recognized as a resource of global importance. More to the point, Nature took millennia to create this wonderful area. We need not rush to destroy or develop it. Cayo Rosario is, after all, irreplaceable.

Green Reef considers this to be a serious matter that warrants your urgent attention. While development in Belize is important it must be well planned and organized, respecting sustainable development principles.

Re: Development in Cayo Rosario? [Re: Marty] #551052
06/24/21 05:15 AM
06/24/21 05:15 AM
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Press Release from Ambergris Caye Citizens for Sustainable Development - ACCSD

We stand firm with our commitment to ensure sustainable use of our marine resource. The threat of building overwater structures in a conservation zone of the Hol Chan Marine Reserve undermines the livelihood and will displace many of our flyfishing guides. We need to protect and preserve our marine reserves for the benefit of our island.

==========

This letter is in response to an interview aired in Channel 7 TV show, 'Uncut' hosted by Jules Vasquez. where the Minister of Blue Economy and Civil Aviation and Area Representative for Belize Rural South, stated that all stakeholders have been consulted and are in agreement on the development of the over the water structures that are to be built in the Cayo Rosario project site. For context we must be aware that the Cayo Rosario Development has applied and gotten Environmental Clearance to build overwater structures with a "Conservation Zone" of the Hol Chan Marine Reserve. Yet they need to apply for individual permits for each aspect of the development project. As far as we know they do not have permits for dredging, building and any overwater structure.

The Cayo Rosario flyfishing flats has been used for decades by fly fishermen of Ambergris Caye and now forms an integral part of the tourism product that provides a livelihood for many local families. Furthermore, flats fishing for tarpon, bonefish and permit generates millions of dollars in revenue to the Belizean economy and should serve as a perfect example of a 'Blue Economy." It provides tangible economic benefits that strengthen the social fabric of the island while fostering sustainable use of marine resources in a marine protected area.

It should be made perfectly clear that, as a community and stakeholders, we have not been consulted. Certainly, we are still completely against any structures to be built inside the conservation zone of the marine reserve. Even more so when it affects the livelihood of many on the island and threatens to destroy not only the marine environment in the area but also the social and economic good that flyfishing, as a sustainable use of resources, provide to us as a community.

They don't own the seabed in the Marine Reserve! This project got environmental clearance after an inadequate and unjust process of limited and biased consultation. The Hol Chan Marine Reserve was extended in 2015 after more than three years of extensive planning research and consultations that identified these sandy flats not only important for conservation but for the socioeconomic value they provide to Ambergris Caye and the Belizean economy.

We can recall when the Honorable Minister and Area Representative accompanied tour operators, tour guides. and concerned citizens of this community to the Caye to protest this very same issue. We were clear then as we are now, we are opposed to any over the water structures that would be built in the middle our beloved Hol Chan Marine Reserve. This development has been issued two cessation orders which shows that they have breached the terms and conditions of their Environmental Compliance Plan. Furthermore. there are reports of development activities taking place at the site without any valid permit. A report with photos has been provided to the management of the Hol Chan Marine Reserve, including the Chairman of the Board, with no response. We request, especially on the part of the Fisheries Department and the Hol Chan Marine Reserve, to properly investigate these reports and to issue proper charges if they are found to be conducting illegal activities within the marine protected area.

We had a meeting with Honorable Minister Andre Perez on Friday June 18, 2021 to express our concerns and to initiate a dialogue that we hope leads to meaningful consultation that can ensure current practice of sustainable use of marine resources are strengthened as a true example of the Blue Economy. At this meeting he stated to us that no over the water structures have been approved to be built in the reserve as part of any development.

We stand United and are completely against any over the water structures inside the reserve. As stakeholder we remain concerned and ready to protest against this project again as we will not be deterred.

Re: Development in Cayo Rosario? [Re: Marty] #551105
06/26/21 04:45 AM
06/26/21 04:45 AM
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PM Supports Cayo Rosario

We also asked the Prime Minister about that other controversial development that is being proposed at Cayo Rosario.

It's a 10-acre island off the northwest coast of San Pedro, Ambergris Caye that's in the middle of the Hol Chan Marine Reserve. The intended developers wanted to build a slew of over-the-water structures for a resort, but constant public pressure from conservation-minded San Pedranos and assessments by the government's environmental technocrats have forced a significant downsizing of the project.

The National Environmental Appraisal Committee has given the project permission to move forward. So, we asked PM Briceno for his take on the project proposal that continues to spark negative reactions from island residents:

Jules Vasquez - Host
"I've heard you mention it on other shows. It's a huge development, and you said that certain key persons at BELTRAIDE will help to steer it through. Do you believe that over-the-water structures should be built?"

Hon. John Briceno - Prime Minister
"Well, they've been done all over the world."

Jules Vasquez
"So, yes."

Hon. John Briceno
"Provided that it follows the environmental regulations, and we ensure that we are taking good care of under the water, it can be done. But, it can't be done grotesquely. It has to be done within reason. You can't say that you're going to put a thousand of them over the water, kind of thing. We have to find that balance."

Jules Vasquez
"But, you agree that it will incur a lot of blowback from the community. You know how ardently protective they are."

Hon. John Briceno
"Whatever we do, somebody is not going to be happy, but the important thing is that we'll be able to create jobs and that the government will be able to create more taxes to be able to address the issues that we have to do, the work of the Belizean people."

Jules Vasquez
"But, your government stood against this when it was proposed under the UDP. Certainly, Andre Perez did."

Hon. John Briceno
"And even now, he still has his concerns, and that's fine. We understand that, but at the end of the day, we have to look at what we believe is the bigger picture."

"As I'm being told, I've been told that the Cayo Rosario area was bought before that area was declared a protected area. And usually, when that happens, the owners in that area get a grandfather clause that would allow them to be able to develop, but within reason, so that it would not have a really bad, adverse effect in the protected area."

2 days ago, the pressure group known as the Ambergris Caye Citizens for Sustainable Development, sent out a press release.

In it, they reference the comments which the Minister of the Blue Economy made 2 weeks ago, when he appeared on Uncut.

That statement says, quote, "It should be made perfectly clear that, as a community and stakeholders, we have not been consulted. Certainly, we are still completely against any structures being built inside the conservation zone of the marine reserve… It affects the livelihood of many on the island and threatens to destroy not only the marine environment… but also the social and economic good that flyfishing, as sustainable use of resources, provides to us as a community… This project got environmental clearance after an inadequate and unjust process of limited and biased consultation..." End quote

Channel 7


Re: Development in Cayo Rosario? [Re: Marty] #552786
09/19/21 05:04 AM
09/19/21 05:04 AM
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Support of fishing guides and protect our MARINE RESERVE!

Alexander Gomez:

Pray baby girl never forget to pray but remember David eventually had to pick up the stone and act against Goliath.

It’s a shame that there are children that do more for their country than those appointed to run the country. It is a shame that we who come from fishermen, whose island was made by fishermen cannot protect the waters that have always fed our people.

Have you as a Belizean realized that’s the cruise ships now own our deep water and will destroy our reef with no impunity?

Wait though, now resorts can be built on MARINE RESERVES!

Where is the Prime minister? (never in this country)

Where is the area rep? What is the minister of the blue economy (whatever that is or does who the [#%!] knows) doing to help the fishing community that built the tourism industry ... shamefully we are not in his best interest.

You leaders should be ashamed that this will be the last generation of Belizean children that will be able to know what it is to see an open untouched, pristine crystal clear protected marine reserve with shallow water flats like no where else in the world.

One day my kids will grow older, they are going to look me dead in the eye and they will ask me “Dad if you love your country so much then where was your heart and courage to defend it when it was taken away from you?” I will be able to look them str8 back and tell them I did everything I could even with the little to no support. I never put a political party before love of country, I did the best I could which is more than most can say especially los politicos de mierda que no tuviron los juevos para proteger la patria.

Belize will soon be the only country in the world that is owned by everyone else except Belizean’s but go ahead and celebrate Independence

Our most honorable Father of the nation George Cadle Price fought and lobbied with both the English and Guatemalans that not one square centimeter of Belizean territory will be given up just for this PUP government to allow it to be sold for pennies to foreigners. This is what he meant when he said his own party will destroy what he has built think about it.

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Re: Development in Cayo Rosario? [Re: Marty] #552804
09/20/21 06:32 AM
09/20/21 06:32 AM
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The idea that this development is "grandfathered in" is ridiculous. If that is the case, then NONE of the declared area is actually declared - think about that.
There is a policy called "imminent domain" which allows governments to obtain/take private property for essential use/benefit of the public ...... it is most frequently used when a school, hospital, road or an airport needs to placed somewhere and private lands are part of the planned location. The property is declared, a fair market value is determined and the private party is compensated. I strongly urge people to consider this path.

It was a grassroots movement that got this area declared a reserve - energies and money were donated and in the end GoB saw the wisdom of the plan. My guess is that between citizens and conservancy groups, funds can be raised so that this land can be paid for and set aside properly.

Demonstrations are good - but not enough.

Last edited by Diane Campbell; 09/20/21 06:46 AM.
Re: Development in Cayo Rosario? [Re: Marty] #553910
11/12/21 05:59 AM
11/12/21 05:59 AM
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Development underway at Cayo Rosario; government still resolving the controversial project

New developments reported by San Pedro Town residents indicate that construction plans continue at Cayo Rosario, including what appears to be survey markers on a nearby sandbar that is considered protected fishing flats. Another concern is that the proposed tourism development on the 10-acre mangrove caye sits within the Hol Chan Marine Reserve. The present government claims not to support the proposed project but admits difficulties in dealing with the case they inherited from the previous administration.

The recent developments, reported by fly fishing guides who frequent the area, are signs of what they described as hand-dredging and construction of what appears to be a seawall. They also reported survey pegs on the sand bar. They suspect the markers are for the proposed over-the-water structures, and they consider this a threat to the flats where the fly-fishing industry thrives. The area in and around Cayo Rosario off the island’s western coast is one of the areas that supports the multi-million dollar fly fishing industry on Ambergris Caye. Many San Pedranos, fly fishing guides, and other stakeholders have been fighting for years to stop any development in that area. They appeal to the government to do their best and save the flats that are the bread and butter of thousands of Belizeans and one of the main attractions of the Belize tourism product.

Area Representative and Minister of the Blue Economy and Civil Aviation, Honourable Andre Perez, explained that his government wants to correct the issue. Still, because of the legal implications, they have to be careful. “We negotiated with the people [developers] to find that balance. We have placed conditions on them because the island is actually in the middle of a reserve, but then it’s an investor, so we cannot act arbitrarily to say no investments,” said Perez. He added that the government at this moment cannot afford to get into legal battles. As the custodian and Area Representative, Perez said that it is for him to find that balance and work along with investors, but consider stakeholders, fisherfolks, and the community.

Click here to read the rest of the article in the San Pedro Sun

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