Colombian president Juan Manuel Santos halted progress on construction of a controversial eco-tourism resort in the Caribbean’s Tayrona National Park.
The project has been a point of contention for more than a year and recently returned to headlines after the National Agency of Environmental Licenses (ANLA) granted permission to continue work on the “Los Ciruelos” resort on January 8. Oddly enough, it is the same governmental agency that ordered this latest suspension. Construction had been suspended since November 2011 after wells were drilled in violation of its environmental license.
“Through a mechanism called the ‘precautionary principle’, which is [used] precisely for protecting the environment, the [ANLA] officially made the decision to suspend any work progress,” said the Head of State.
Dr. Luz Helena Sarmiento, an advisor from the ANLA, along with other government officials, studied the Tayrona case and whether or not the project falls within the principles and priorities of the government.
“This is not a surprise…In this case the priority is the preservation of the park [and] dry forest conservation. It is something that is of great ecological importance,” said Santos.
Indigenous groups joined environmentalists in their disapproval regarding the eco-tourism company Six Senses, the outfit behind the project, plans to construct 12 eco-cabañas (or eco-cabins) on a tract of the national park’s virgin Caribbean coastline.