Last month I ran across an interesting blog called No Cruises In Placencia which focuses on the plight of the tranquil fishing village of Placencia, Belize which Royal Caribbean has targeted as a future site for a new port for its cruise ships.
Placencia is located in southern Belize, and is described as one of the most beautiful locations in Central America where it is known for its beaches and first rate diving and fishing.
But a portion of the tranquil town may be transformed into a private "tourist village" if the Miami-based cruise line giant Royal Caribbean Cruises has its way. The cruise line and a group of secret investors already purchased land in the little fishing town with big plans to build a port and a cruise tourist village.
Royal Caribbean has been working behind the scenes for a long time to establish a foot-hole in Placencia. Most citizens of Placencia did not know that the cruise line had already bought land in the town and was moving forward with their plans to build a port to accommodate their cruise ships.
When word got out the majority of the residents in Placencia were upset that a behind the scene deal deal seemed to be struck. The No Cruises website explains the issues in a rather straight forward manner - the downside of mass tourism via cruise ship are real and substantial - crime, social and cultural disruption, the loss of character of the town, and the loss of control of your homeland to a multi-national corporation with a felony record of widespread pollution.
The locals in Placencia raised their legitimate concerns of what a Royal Caribbean designed tourist village would do to their town and lifestyle.
The Belize Tourism Board ("BTB") scheduled a public forum where several hundred local citizens spoke out about the project, but they first had to endure a 45 minute lecture by a vice president of Royal Caribbean, John Tercek, who oversees the cruise line's commercial development plans.
A local newspaper in Belize, the Reporter, wrote about the meeting in an appropriately entitled article "Placencia, A Done Deal?" by Niall Gillett.
Mr. Gillett commented on some interesting developments at the meeting. Many people questioned the fact that the CEO of the BTB, Mike Singh, had previously worked at Century 21 which brokered the land deal with the cruise line, thus raising the uncomfortable issue of whether individuals on the local tourism board profited from the sale of the cruise ship village land.
The newspaper also wrote that the crowd at the meeting asked Royal Caribbean representative Tercek about issues of pollution, a key concern given this cruise line's deplorable environmental crimes:
“Can you comment on your company’s environmental record?” VP Tercek refused the microphone. No comment."
Royal Caribbean is one of the least transparent corporations in the world, and the worst environmental cruise polluter in the history of the cruise industry. Its interests are its own corporate bottom line profits - not the welfare, environment or culture of a special place like Placencia.
My Opinion? Something smells very fishy about these behind the scene deals which are now coming to light. But the smell is not from the beautiful fishing village of Placencia . . its coming from the corporate office of Royal Caribbean in Miami.
Join the Facebook Group: Keep Cruise Ships Away from Placencia
Top photo: nocruises.org
Middle photo: FCCA website
Bottom photo: Keep Cruise Ships Away from Placencia facebook page
Video: YouTube via LeslieTech Placencia, Paradise At The Crossroads- Cruise Tourism Problems & Possibilities (via Marty)