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Dear Editor,

My husband and I spent a month in beautiful Belize and more specifically, several days in Placencia (southern Belize) last summer and were blown away by the beauty of the area and the innocence of the village. I still marvel at the gorgeous pictures, the baker selling goods out of his wheelbarrow, the "World's Narrowest Street" (a sidewalk), the beautiful beach and reef surrounding this area. Close to Placencia is Monkey River, a small village accessible by boat, which is growing more near and dear to me. We even saw a manatee there! These are wonderful memories I have of the area. I am 100% certain that IF we were to return to Belize, which is our plan, we will not experience the same joy if a cruise ship port is built. That said, IF a cruise ship port is built here, we will certainly NOT RETURN!

These experiences my husband and I had will not be there forever and will certainly disappear quicker with the hoards that a cruise ship port will bring to the area. Some larger cities can handle a cruise ship port, but Placencia will not be able to do so. So much will be lost and many of the people of the area do not want it there. I can only imagine what a different place it will be in only five years should a cruise ship port be opened in this sleepy village. The village will be raped of its charm and the people who make it a true Belizean destination will not be who they are today.

The tourists brought in on cruise ships do not generally care about the area they are visiting. They are ignorant to the area and people and uninformed. They are there for a day, or hours, and just to see what they can see. The areas they will visit, outside of Placencia Village, are not going to be able to survive the impact of having thousands of people traipse through for a quick glimpse. Monkey River will crash, the jungle will be no more and the people will shy away, instead of greeting us with a smile. No regard for what they take or leave behind, the cruise ship passengers will kill Placencia. My husband and I took away friendships, photos, memories and left nothing more than a footprint in the sand.

My vacation there is history...don't let the village of Placencia become a place in history, all for the lure of money. Again, if cruise ships come to Placencia, we will NOT! I will do my best to spread the word and the people who I know might visit the area, will avoid the cruise ship destinations for the reason of culture being lost and destroyed - at the hands of the Cruise Lines. Sad, but true.

/s/ Lori Kawalauskas

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Dorian Nuñez

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