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Norwegian exclusive could block Belizean developers: Espat

Toledo East representative Mike Espat said Wednesday that the 25-year exclusive deal that the Government of Belize is considering with Norwegian Cruise Lines will hamper a Belizean Developer from being part of tourism in the south.

Espat raised the concern at the National Assembly, saying that the exclusive deal would bar Big Creek Port, a Belizean owned enterprise, from access to the market.

Espat says the company has already invested millions of dollars in upgrading their facilities and included in their business plan is the prospect having a cruise tourism port.

Said Flores, manager of Big Creek Port, explained that with the upgrades they have been doing, their facilities will have the required depth for the large cruise ships, and that the location is 15 minutes from Placencia, and within an hour’s drive away from major tourist sites in the area. Flores estimated that the upgrades may be completed as early as  December 2013.

Responding to Espat, Prime Minister explained that GOB had spoken with representatives about the project but were skeptical about the completion time of the project, and about the cargo port sharing space with the tourism port.

Barrow said that GOB is prepared to go the exclusive route with NCL because the investment seems to be more guaranteed.

Barrow also emphasized that while NCL will have the exclusivity, the governments’ memorandum of understanding, which it signed last Thursday with NCL, expressly states that the beneficiaries of the entire project will be Belizeans, as they are going to be involved in every stage of the initiative. The government has also demanded that all tours be offered by Belizean operators.

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