TNC Writes GOB, says More Separate ESIAs Should be Done
The Belize Program Coordinator for The Nature Conservancy, Julie Robinson has penned a letter to the CEO in the Ministry of Sustainable Development, Dr. Kenrick Williams. The letter focuses on the Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) for the Cargo Expansion and Construction of Cruise Terminal and Cruise Tourism Village for the Port of Belize. Robinson outlines serious concerns TNC has with the proposed project. She tells CEO Williams that Port of Belize should submit two E.S.I.A.’s — one for the Port of Belize Cargo Expansion and another for the Port Cruise Terminal because of the differences in the scope, objectives and potential social, economic and environmental impacts. Robinson says that each E.S.I.A. submitted in Belize needs to address all potential impacts.
Julie Robins, Belize Program Director, TNC: “The first thing is that when you look at the proposal it is quite extensive and there are two aspects to this proposal one is the Port of Belize cargo expansion and then the other is the cruise port terminal development and when you look at these they really address – it’s a different scope, there are different objectives and the potential impacts are also different for both of these. Some of them overlap but I think in some areas they are very different and so for this reason when we are looking at this particular ESIA it’s important that both aspects of that proposal is given equal importance and therefore our recommendation is that they each need to have their own ESIA. With regards to Belize’s sort of direction in terms of sustainable development it would make sense that this is done in an informed manner. We absolutely need development but we need to look at it and look at the cumulative impacts of everything that is happening across our seascape. We need to look at all the various users, all the various uses and do a sort of full assessment and do it also in a way that promotes equity and so you know we need to be participatory and include all the various users in this process. So with that in mind the fact that Belize does not have a national ports policy or a national cruise port policy in place as yet we see that the marine spatial plan which we are getting ready to launch later this month would provide a means, a mechanism for the government and for all the users to really determine what is the best use of our seascape, whether the areas where we think it’s important for development for both our socio economic objectives as well as just overall economy of the country but in addition to that there are areas which we know are far too sensitive and far too important for biodiversity protection for example that needs to be set aside and protected. So let’s look at all of these objectives equally, let’s look at the social impacts, the economic impacts and the ecological impacts bring them together as part of this marine spatial plan which we are launching this month and have all the users there so the developers will be there, the fisheries sector will be there the tourism sector will be there and to be able to provide that knowledge that we need to guide development of our seascape.”