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Dean Barrow

Thanks to P.M. Barrow.... Local group will service all cruise lines

Dean Barrow 47%

 

  PM Dean Barrow

 

Carnival Cruise Line (CCL) has given Belizean tender operators more time to upgrade their fleet of tenders serving its cruiseships.

Prime Minister Dean Barrow made the announcement last Monday, on his return from talks with cruise line heavyweights in Miami.

Barrow took with him the Minister of Tourism, Manuel Heredia Jr.;  the Director of Tourism, Seleni Matus and BTB’s CEO-designate, Lindsay Garbutt to meet with cruiseship executives.

Carnival Cruise Line threw Belizean tender operators into a panic by announcing that in the future every tender serving the Carnival cruiseships needs to be able to carry at least 150 passengers.

The largest operating tender in Belize has room for only 100 cruise ship passengers.

Carnival is also insisting that tender operators carry adequate passenger  insurance.

Carnival  explained that it was gearing up for more cruiseship activity and wants to have the larger tenders in place as soon as possible.

Prime Minister Barrow and his team explained that tender operators need more time to comply with this new requirement.

Prime Minister Barrow and his team also explained that the tender business must be in the hands of  Belizeans.

The Prime Minister explained:, “Carnival agreed with us that the new mandate would be fulfilled by a new Belizean company that would be made up of all the current tender operators who wish to participate.

“After reporting to them [the local operators] what had happened and after putting to them the proposal that we really need to move now in terms of the formation of this new company or entity... all the tender owners or operators who were in that meeting agreed that they will come together to form this new Belizean entity that will contract with Carnival and with all the cruise lines doing business in this country,” Barrow explained.

The plan is for this new company, led by Stanley Longsworth Sr., the Managing Director of Caribbean Shipping Limited, to enter into contractual agreements directly with cruise lines thereby eliminating the need for middlemen  such as EuroCaribe.

Recognizing that they are working against time, the preliminary negotiations to get this local entity into full swing has already begun.

Initially, there was no deadline for this to happen, by Wednesday the cut-off point was set for October 21, giving  local operators about nine months to have the tenders ready for action.

The first and immediate task is to procure vessels that meet Carnival’s  standards.

Local tender service providers learned only last week of Carnival’s new requirement for larger tenders and for the accident insurance requirement.

The new investment would have been beyond the means of  more than 70% of  the independent providers, and would have put them out of business.

Barrow acknowledged the larger vessels’ prohibitive cost, over $1 million each, and promised the operators as much assistance as was legally possible.

“I will speak to the Development Finance Corporation to ensure that the DFC can play a role in all of this in terms of helping to provide financing for the new investment that this company and especially the smaller tender owners will need to make,” the Prime Minister promised.

“It goes without saying that the new company will be given every tax and duty concession that is legally available in this country.” Barrow declared.

Barrow also acknowledged the difficulties the smaller operators are bound to encounter. They need to convert the investment capital they have tied up in their smaller vessels, which is easier said than done because many of them are still in debt for these vessels.

The Belize Tourism Board has pledged to help the operators find alternative uses for the smaller boats.

American businessman Rick O’Shea, of Elite Golf Cruises, the purported owner of Paradise Caye Tendering Limited, had been reportedly trying to muscle in on local boaters with bigger, more expensive tenders. But Prime Minis. er Barrow said this was not the case.

...

 

Dyon A. Elliott

 

 

14.01.2011

Read full article: www.reporter.bz

2011-01-19


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