Royal Caribbean makes deal with Port of Magical Belize

The content originally appeared on: News Americas Now

Black Immigrant Daily News

The content originally appeared on: Amandala Newspaper

Photo: Port of Magical Belize

A letter from Royal Caribbean Group to David Gegg, CEO of Portico Enterprises Ltd., indicates that the company has chosen to enter a business arrangement with the developers of Port of Magical Belize rather than the Stake Bank developers of Port Coral or Waterloo Holdings Ltd.

BELIZE CITY, Thurs. Dec. 1, 2022

According to a letter leaked to 7News by government sources, the Royal Caribbean Group (RGC) has indicated its intention to enter a business arrangement with Portico Enterprises Ltd., the developer of Port of Magical Belize, rather than the two other companies that have had plans to develop cruise terminals in the Belize District—Stake Bank Enterprises Ltd. and Waterloo Holdings Ltd. 

That major cruise line has reportedly stated that the Port of Magical Belize project “encompasses the adequate environmental and operational criteria” required by the company and that a subsequent Memorandum of Understanding that will lay out the terms of partnership between the two entities is soon to be signed by the companies.  

At this juncture, as three companies (Portico, Waterloo and Stake Bank) jostle for a spot in the cruise terminal sector within a limited geographical space in the Belize District (with indications from the Government of Belize that it might not be feasible to have three cruise terminals in the area), the selection of Port of Magical Belize by the Royal Caribbean Group, could be crucial, perhaps even decisive, in determining which cruise terminal projects can succeed. Recently, reports surfaced of the National Environmental Appraisal Committee’s denial of Waterloo’s proposal for the development of a cruise port at the Port of Belize Limited compound for a second time. While there is no indication at this time whether the company will continue to pursue approval of its project, the Royal Caribbean Group has stated in their letter that their ships would not be docking at any Waterloo cruise terminal, nor at Stake Bank’s Port Coral development, the construction of which is already at an advanced stage.

“RCG commits that Magical Belize will be the exclusive development project and port of entry for RCG amongst Waterloo and Port Coral,” the letter states.

That company, whose passengers are currently tendered to the Fort Street Tourism Village (49% of which is owned by RCG), states that it will continue to honor its fiduciary responsibility to the FSTV until the concession is no longer valid or the tourism village is no longer a port of entry. At that point, its ships would start berthing at the Port of Magical Belize, which is to be located near Northern Lagoon in the southern part of the Belize District and is to be built at a cost of USD 355 million.

Royal Caribbean and the other major cruise lines have indicated the need for cruise destinations to provide shoreside berthing capabilities for its large Oasis-class vessels, in line with an upgrade within the cruise industry. Those massive ships cannot berth at the Fort Street Tourism Village. The process of tendering passengers from sea to the mainland is to be phased out totally by 2025, which is the year in which the construction of Port of Magical Belize is reportedly scheduled to reach completion.

RCG has stated that they will now manage the project development along with the principals of Portico. The project will, according to its developers, create around 5,000 jobs.  

7News is claiming that the Port of Magical Belize’s “lead developer David Gegg has navigated between two governments, first getting an MOU from the UDP in 2017, and then an EIA approved under the PUP in 2021… the project also got a ‘Definitive Agreement’ under the UDP, signed one month before the election in October of 2020.”