In response to the negligence of the government reflected by the lack of public services in Holbox, the entrepreneurs of the island are denying entrance to tourists…
HOLBOX, Q. Roo – The lack of basic public services, such as water and electricity supply, in Holbox represents a serious damage to the economy of the Island because it not only wounds the quality of life of its inhabitants, it also makes it difficult to provide high quality tourist services. Due to this trouble the entrepreneurs of the Island have threatened the government with the closure of the island to visitors.
The Holbox Hotels Association President, Barbara Hernandez, has declared that the closure of the port held last weekend from 10 am to 4 pm was just a warning for the responsible authorities involved in this issue, and the warning will prevail if the services are not provided as necessary.
“We didn’t have water nor electricity, added to the lack of good communication, with no Internet or cell phone signal, the situation here was horrible,” said Barbara Hernandez.
Holbox Island is located on the Yucatan Peninsula’s northeast coast, in the Caribbean Sea; it belongs to the National Park of Yum Balam and it is also a protected place for the migration of the whale shark.
Its total area is 55,948 km2, separated from the continent by an open lagoon of 10 km wide, in which live more than 150 species of birds and other exotic creatures such as flamingos and pelicans, among others.
Due to the lack of public services the night of Saturday July 29, a group of officials from the government of Quintana Roo and the Municipality of Lázaro Cárdenas, to which Holbox belongs, held an emergency meeting with the Holbox local leaders, to agree on the immediate supply of water and to start construction of drainage and other basic infrastructure works, to begin Monday July 31.
Alejandrina Selem, the Holbox Development Council President, pointed out that after suffering one week without water supply and with frequent failures on the electric system, the authorities finally understood the magnitude of the problem.
She added that in that meeting the government agreed to send 19 water pipes to provide temporary water to the island. “Usually they don’t work 24 hours but now they are doing it”, she said.
According to Selem, the infrastructure of the village was constructed 30 or 40 years ago, and the provision of those services was planned for 800 people, in that time there were no tourist developments.
But now Holbox has a fixed population of 3,000 people, a floating population of 1,200 that only goes to the island in summer to work. In addition the island receives 5,000 tourists that spend at least one night and in the day it receives another 2,000 tourists that leave the island at night.
Selem also denounced that despite the income that Holbox represents for the economy of the State and the Country, it only counts with a budget of $42,000 pesos each month for public services.
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