Some residents of Caye Caulker are concerned about what appears to be dredging in front of the island, near the San Pedro Belize Express dock. The residents say they believe the dredging is being done unlawfully and unsustainably, and reports also say that the sand is being used for commercial purposes, which SPBE's General Manager, Myron Marin, does not have a permit to do.

It's an understandable concern, since the residents are only trying to protect their island, and the reef which they believe is being damaged since they are not sure if Marin's dredging company, Belize Dredging and Reclamation Company, is using a silt curtain.

But according to Marin, his company is doing everything by the books - and it's no secret. He sent us these pictures he took this evening of the curtain that the dredging barge is using, and added that this is the third time that they've dredged in front of the island, with full clearance from the Department of Environment. He explained that the reason for the dredging is to maintain the channel for the water taxi boats to access the dock.

As it relates to the truckloads of sand, Marin explained that, previously, he had donated all the dredging material to the island, which he estimates is valued at over 200,000 dollars. This time around, since he has his own dredging company, he donates to the Caye Caulker Village Council whatever they ask for, and sells the rest to recover his operational expenses. Marin has also donated sand to fill the lot where the new health center is located.

With that said, however, he conceded that he is dredging in the area longer than he should be, but chalked that up to mechanical issues. And he assured residents that the dredging will be completed by tomorrow.

We also reached out to the Department of Environment for comment but up to newstime, we have not heard back from them.

Channel 7