PM intends to sell over 8k acres of Ambergris Caye

The Island Newspaper, Ambergris Caye, Belize            Vol. 17, No. 22            June 7, 2007

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It is unsigned and undated but the facts are all there in black and white. A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Government of Belize and an unnamed company represented by Allen O. Cage, Jr. has been leaked and this clearly outlines the governmentís intention to sell the 8,255 acres of land on North Ambergris Caye formerly part of Pinkerton Estates.

    The MOU outlines the following (verbatim from the document):
    Within seven (7) days of the signing of this MOU, the Company will deposit with the Central Bank of Belize, to the account of the GOB, a sum of US$2,500,000 as security for the closing of the transactions contemplated in this MOU within the period stipulated in clause 3 below, or such extended period as may be agreed between the Parties. In the event the GOB has fulfilled the obligations on its part as required by this MOU but the Company fails to close the sale/purchase of the Property as provided herein, the said deposit will be forfeited to the GOB.
    The Company shall purchase the Property within sixty (60) days of the date hereof on payment to the GOB the full purchase price of US$25.0 Million (Twenty Five Million United States dollars).

    As to what will be developed in that land, the MOU continues:
    (i) Two 18 hole-golf course driving range, club house, and related facilities to maintain and operate the golf course and housing communities with a minimum of four thousand (4,000) housing units including single family detached, condominiums, town homes, and as otherwise determined by the Company in its discretion;
    (ii) Tennis center; (iii) Resort and health spa facilities; (iv) Conference center; (v) Three hundred (300) single family homes and rooms constructed over water;
    (vi) Two (2) marinas; (vii) One (l) casino; (viii) Four hotels/resorts with a minimum of two hundred (200) rooms; (ix) One hotel/resort with a minimum of four hundred (400) rooms;
    (x) Water treatment facility; (xi) Waste management facility; (xii) Storage facilities; (xiii) Right and ability to dredge from off shore and in the lagoon area to form canals, waterways, building foundations, golf course and other development as required per the design plan;
   (xiv) Electric generation facility; (with BELís agreement) (xv) An airport with a six thousand (6,000) foot runway expandable to twelve thousand (12,000) feet; (xvi) Equestrian riding facilities and trails;
    (xvii) Rights and/or facilities to operate or offer traditional recreational sporting activities such as parasailing, jet skiing, kayaking, tubing, boating, fishing, diving snorkeling, food service, commercial vendors, and other uses consistent with Caribbean resorts.

    As to an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), the MOU states:
    The Company agrees that it will, at its own cost, carry out an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) for the Project, as required by the environmental laws of Belize. The GOB will render the Company all possible assistance in securing the approval for the Project from the Department of the Environment or any other Government agency.
    However, it seems that this unnamed company has many more plans. The MOU states Subject to the agreement of the Social Security Board (SSB), the GOB will assist the Company to purchase from the SSB the additional 3,400 acres of land on North Ambergris Caye presently held by the SSB.
    How about a Duty Free Shopping Center? Subject to the Customs Regulation Act of Belize and any existing contractual obligations, the GOB will favorably consider the grant of a license to the Company to operate a duty free shopping center within the Project.
    Finally, the Government of Belize will render all possible assistance to the Company in securing all necessary approvals, permits, licenses and other authorizations in accordance with the applicable laws of Belize to enable the Company to commence and complete the Project within the time frame contemplated herein.

    Whether this MOU will follow through or not, whether it will pass through Cabinet or whether the land will actually pass hands, we will know soon enough.
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