Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Letter to the Editor: Ambergris Caye does not need an International Airport


Letters-to-the-EditorDear Editor and to all residents of Belize,
Reading the article where Dean Barrow indicates the accomplishment of “paving” a road North of San Pedro raises some questions about that project.
First, what amount of money was allocated to build the “road?” In the US, the best roads are 18 inches thick, with earthwork and grading creating what is known as a crown, which creates an arc to the road surface so that it drains. The reason road are built thick is so that they actually last and stand up to use like trucks. The “road” that has been built north of San Pedro is construction more typical of a patio that would be used for foot traffic. It is about 4 inches thick. It will not last but a few years. The question becomes: What happened to all the money for the road project?
If these same people are going to be in charge of building an airport “someday” you’d better hope that a new group of people are in charge of the finances. The “road” should be much thicker and more durable. When the remesh that was laid down in the concrete to strengthen is already rusting, it will very quickly create internal pressure on the concrete and actually help it to disintegrate.
I suggest the people of Belize demand better accounting for these projects. Putting lots of development up North will actually harm tourism over the long haul. The Bacalar Chico area is the largest terrestrial area on Ambergris Caye. In that regard, it is responsible for maintaining the environmental health of the entire peninsula, which has very little overall land mass south of this proposed airport. If you allow development in the North it will mean serious habitat reduction and the loss of more invaluable mangrove. Without the mangrove, most native fish species that populate the Meso-American reef will become threatened. Without the mangrove as fish nursery, the overall reef suffers, and therefore the diving and tourism industry.
These politicians and their corrupt counterparts actually have very limited, self-serving interests. They want to build a road that allows for a few years of real estate boom before that “road” crumbles. By then, they will be gone. You will be left asking, “Where did the money go?”
It is time for an impartial audit of the financing of Belize. The Goldson Airport is well-located and functions for all of Belize. Do not buy into these poorly considered, half-baked plans….
/s/ Walter Pural

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