This week the concerned community of San Pedro held a meeting. A meeting to discuss the proposed and approved development at Cayo Rosario on the West Side of Ambergris Caye.
Cayo Rosario which is within the Hol Chan Marine Reserve. Cayo Rosario, one of the most active and fertile fly fishing areas in all of Belize.
So. The public met to inform ourselves since the developers did not want to do it. Hundreds of members of our community from all walks of life can together decided to unanimously stand against this development. Densely packed onto the tiny island but also two huge over-the-water arms with 50+ cabanas.
The BTIA on a local and national level, Gary Grief, a member of the San Pedro Town Council, the SP Tour Guides Association, the SP Tour Operators Association, the San Pedro Fishing Guides Association.
A national news station – Channel 5 – reported beautifully from the caye and from the meeting.
Many are asking what the next step is…and how they can help. Here are some updates.
Since we feel that the public was NOT properly consulted on this controversial project and that any feedback that was obtained was basically disregarded, WE NEED YOUR HELP.
We also feel that the assessment done by the developers and their consulting firm is wrong. This is not a lifeless area. Or an area insignificant to our community*. NOT AT ALL.
We want to send a packet of letters to each member of NEAC – the National Environmental Appraisal Committee – who have the approval authority for this project.
They are the decision makers, we must make CERTAIN that they have the correct information. We want to insure there is no ambiguity about how this island feels.
If you have sent a letter to the Department of the Environment or any other groups about this issue, we ask the you either send it again. Addressed the the Members of NEAC.
We everyone concerned to write a letter also Addressed to the Members of NEAC – an email.
We suggest that you include the following information.
- Your Name
- Your Job/Title on the Island or Organization (local or international) that You Represent or Your Ties to Ambergris Caye or Belize (visitors, home owners, business owners, flyfishermen and women)
- The concerns you have for this project in a marine reserve
- Any first hand testimonials and/or photos from use of the area
PLEASE SEND THE EMAIL, addressed to the Members of NEAC TO: email@example.com
PLEASE EMAIL YOUR LETTER BY END OF DAY, MONDAY MAY 22nd OR STOP BY THE SEADUCED OFFICE IN TOWN TO DROP OFF A WRITTEN NOTE
IMMEDIATE ACTION 2
There are daily recreational users of the area around Cayo Rosario. Please inform the Hol Chan Marine Reserve Department and/or the email above if you see any suspicious activity on or around Cayo Rosario. From what I understand, there are still some final agreements to be made before this project is OFFICIAL.
No work, no dredging, no plant removal should happen on or around this island.
STEPS CONCERNED CITIZENS ARE WORKING ON NOW
The first steps of legal action are underway – an expert on environmental law and someone well versed in the EIA process.
We are hoping to move quickly on this – and, as you can imagine, it will take money.
For those who are interested in helping with the legal expenses – we are working on a way so all can contribute.
* (Page 190, Social Factors from the Final Environmental Impact Assessment for the Cayo Rosario Development Project) It has been established however that the area has been traditionally used by San Pedro Fishing Guides as a destination for day tours. Although there have been some claims that the area is used by as much as 200 Sport Fishing Guides on a regular basis, this would seem to be doubtful especially given the fact that the individual who has made this assertion refused to be associated with the statement formally. A first hand ecological survey of the area, including a fish count, has provided no information that the abundance and diversity of sport fishing species would support this level of activity.
**The members of NEAC: The Chief Environmental Officer or his nominee, the Lands Commissioner, the Director of Health Services; the Chief Forest Officer; the Fisheries Administrator; the Chief Meteorologist; the Director of Petroleum and Geology, GOB’s Chief Engineer, a representative of BTIA, a representative of the University of Belize and a representative of TIDE.