Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Uncertain whether Azteca paid their $800K fine

Mexican billionaire Ricardo Salinas Pliego, owner of the yacht Azteca which caused damages to the reef just outside of San Pedro Town (http://sanpedrosun.blogspot.com/search?q=azteca) was ordered to pay a $787,000 fine after an assessment was carried out by the Department of the Environment (DOE). Pliego committed to pay on Holy Thursday before he sailed away. According to Jevon Hulse, acting Chief Environmental Officer stated that “It was my understanding that he (Ricardo Salinas Pliego) was expected to make arrangements for payment before sailing out of Belize.”
The mega yacht Azteca damaged Belize's reef on April 7th

It is unconfirmed whether the monies were paid to the Ministry of Finance. However, according to our colleagues at El Diario de Quintana Roo Newspaper based out of Chetumal, Mexico, “Azteca” docked at port on the island of Cozumel on Good Friday. This would mean that the cost of damaged had to be settled before the vessel left Belizean waters, but as of press time, it was still unconfirmed whether or not those monies where in the Government coffers.

The Mexican billionaire was never arrested, instead his captain, forty-nine year old Salvador Villeras Eckart of Cancun, Mexico was detained. Eckart told authorities that that the vessel was drifting towards the reef after a rope tangled in the propeller, causing it to automatically shut down. He went on to explain that he had to drop anchor to avoid running aground. Salinas Pliego is a well known billionaire and owns of the Mexican television station, Azteca and the chain of appliance stores, Electra.

Port Authority to visit SP

This is to confirm that I am flying Mr. Rodriguez, from the Port Authority, on Wednesday, April 22nd, to inspect boats, and complete registration/re-resgistration paperwork. I will take him to the Palapa pier, at about 9:30 a.m. (assuming all goes according to plan...you might want to call me at 226-2725, or the Palapa Bar, at 226-3111, before bringing your boat).

Many have expressed interest, and we will keep him here, as long as there are boats. Mr Rodriguez cannot test for captain's licenses (currently, you must take the written test, in Belize City, on a Monday or Tuesday...to be followed by a driving test). I am advised that he will take my expired captain's license, back to Port Authority, for renewal, and know that several intend the same. I intend to keep a list of participants, and send a messenger to the Port authority, a few days later, to pick up our completed paperwork (thus avoiding the two hour wait, which I have endured, on multiple occasions).

I forgot to ask about the fees, but it seems to me that it was rather modest, last time. I will be paying airfare, Belize taxi, and lunch at the Palapa, along w/ a probable gratuity. Although contributions are welcome, they are not necessary, since I would be flying him over, even were no one else interested.

/s/ Pat Stiley