Visiting American tourists, David and Michelle Freund have found themselves in quite a predicament while vacationing in Belize. The couple have been detained in Belize for the last two weeks indefinitely. David is faced with “Civil Charges” related to a coral-damaging incident, while sailing, which occurred only two days into their vacation in Belize in May.
A blog dedicated as a platform to tell their story alleges that ‘most of the damage was done by Moorings (the boat rental company) when they were improperly towing them off the coral in an aggressive manner in order to conceal their unethical practices of renting to uncertified tourists, failing to provide the renters with proper navigational information and additional safety equipment, and their failure to report the initial incident to the Belize Port Authorities.
The US Embassy had stepped in with support, and the Belize Department of Tourism Board did all that was within their power, but the Department of Environment and some other authorities had the last say.
And on Tuesday, June 3rd, the results of the hearing were not good. Following the hearing, David was put in prison with a $5,000 bail. The court scheduled a second hearing for June 11th and determined that his “civil charge” is $177,000 BZ ($87,250 USD). While David met bail, the couple are unsure where they will garner the funds to pay off the hefty fine. Our attempts to get comment from the Moorings Charters in Placencia have been unsuccessful. We brought the issue to OCEANA Belize who stated that they will launch an investigation into the matter.
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