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Quintana Roo, Mexico

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 The Akumal Council Connection

The Akumalian has agreed to be a de facto site for reporting and publishing various communications that are issued by the Akumal Council (Consejo de Desarrollo de Akumal SA. ) as another vehicle for communicating to the extended global Akumal community.  The official web site for the Akumal Council can be found at www.akumalcouncil.com

Go to Akumal Council Index   Letters to Municipality   Letters to Membership

Letters to the Membership
This is the letter that was sent to the membership on April 26, 2008 with regards to the tentative plans for Tulum to become a Municipality, and for Akumal to become part of the Tulum Municipality; i.e. taking Akumal out of the juristiction of Playa del Carmen and moving us under the juristriction of Tulum.

A letter from Gonzalo Arcila

 Akumal Quintana Roo, April 25, 2008

 Dear members of the Akumal community,

I would like to bring to your attention certain events that took place lately of crucial importance for Akumal's future.

As most of you are probably aware, on February 21 the state Congress voted unanimously to make Tulum the ninth municipality.  Forthwith, on March 13, Tulum was ratified as the ninth municipality and the Municipal Council that will appoint representatives to the upcoming Congress's 12th legislature will be formed on April 10.  It is worth noting that Akumal North is now within the boundaries of Tulum Municipality, being formed geographically the southern shore of Laguna Yal-ku.

The Municipal Council that will appoint the new State Congress will also govern the new municipality until next year's elections.  Ideally, this Council should be made up of people who are longtime residents, socially responsible, professionally and morally ethical, and above all, experienced.

Unfortunately being a protagonist in this historical event is a very sought-after appointment by those presently in power and wanting to remain there.  Needless to say, the many new political and administrative positions available will also provide numerous opportunities for "compadrazco" [from the word compadre], the system in which jobs and appointments are handed out to family, friends and supporters.

This makes it now vitally important for all existing civic associations in the new municipality to consolidate and take positive action to claim their right to be represented in the new Municipal Council.  As one of the most important communities in the new entity, Akumal must be properly represented.  Especially now, during this historical beginning, we cannot afford to be represented by any administratively inexperienced person with ulterior motives of personal gain and power.

Therefore, it is extremely important that the Akumal Council act immediately by defining its position and determining to what extent it wishes to be involved in the process.

On Thursday, March 20, I was invited to attend a radio news conference produced by "Desde el Cafe".  The invitation came through a personal phone call from Gilberto Gomez Mora, Head Councilman of the present Municipal Council.  He has been one of the main promoters of the New Municipality and a strong contender for its interim mayor, to be appointed by the State Congress soon.  The event took place at Hotel Bahia Principe.

Guests in attendance included the following personalities:

  • Gilberto Gomez Mora, Head Councilman of the present Municipal Council

  • Jorge Luis Pech, present mayor of Tulum

  • Donato Castro Martinez, former municipal councilman

  • German Gallegos "Don Cafeto", present State Government representative in Tulum

  • Giovanni Avashadur, present Director of the Tulum Cultural Center

  • Rosario Nieto Collin, Dept.  of Communication and Transport delegate in Tulum (Cintra)

  • Juan Carlos Gonzalez, Director of Revenue in Tulum

  • Alfredo Soto Martinez, former municipal councilman and hotelier in Tulum

  • Carlos Jasso Gutierrez, President of the Tulum Hotel Association

  • Víctor Maas Tah, former head of the National Chamber Of Commerce and Touristic Services (Canaco-Servytur)

  • Jorge Portilla Manica, Tulum businessman and hotelier, president of the Grupo Ambientalista Defensores de Tulum A.C. [environmental group]

  • Gonzalo Arcila Gonzalez, President of the Akumal Development Council.

 My contribution to the talks ran roughly as follows: 

  1. Acknowledgment of the volunteers who have taken up the task of anticipating and planning this important transition and birth of a new municipality, people who are working to have the best persons appointed to office during this crucial first stage which consists of forming the Tulum Municipal Council.  I also thanked my hosts for calling this meeting in which many sectors of the community and geographic municipality were in attendance.

 

  1. I thanked them for inviting me and giving Akumal the chance to be represented.

 

  1. I emphasized the challenge and the opportunity presented to us to make this nascent municipality a model of integration, strength, congruence, sustainability, development and to learn from the mistakes of others.  I repeated that this would only be possible with proper planning and organization in which all sectors of society and the municipality are duly represented by honest, experienced, professional and politically sensitive people which without a doubt live here, as evidenced by those gathered around the table.

 

  1. I stressed the unique natural, geographical, cultural and social richness of our new municipality with the following examples:

·        The Meso- American reef, second-largest in the world.

·        Archaeological Zones - Tulum, one of the most beautiful and most visited archaeological sites in the world, plus many others such as Muyil, Xel-ha, and Coba.

·        Underground rivers and cenotes, also unique on the planet.

·        Our cultural treasure - the thriving Maya

·        More than 100 km of the most coveted beaches in the world.

·        All of this in the heart of the Riviera and Mundo Maya.

 

  1. Furthermore, I also pointed out our weaknesses and deficient infrastructure, mostly drainage and sewage treatment but also quite marked absence of social programs and present disparity in the distribution of the benefits of tourism.  I spoke of those who do not have access to the opportunities nor the rewards of that industry, a clear indication that the main challenge for a successful municipality will be to manage its abundance and reduce deficiencies.

 

  1. I also spoke of Akumal's importance as an Icon of Tourism in the Heart of the Riviera Maya and its place as the oldest resort on the Mexican Caribbean coast.  I pointed out the significance of its present role in regional tourism and its future as the second most important city in the municipality.  I spoke to some length about the already considerable economic benefits derived from taxes paid by Akumal with its large number of hotel rooms that not only provide revenue but jobs in the new municipality.

 

  1. I also described the importance of Akumal's existing NGOs such as the Consejo de Desarrollo de Akumal A.C. and El Centro Ecológico de Akumal.  They are evidence of an established settlement with responsible objectives.  We not only know what we have and we know what we want in Akumal, we also recognize our deficiencies.  But more than anything, we remain vigilant of all processes to ensure that Akumal is always represented properly and in proportion to its status in the next Municipal Council.

 

  1. In conclusion, I spoke of the need to have power over urban development and population growth, of the immediate necessity for better police and the importance of environmental planning.  This emerging municipality is especially rich in water, that precious liquid which in a few years will become rare in many parts of the world.  We have the largest subterranean rivers in on this planet and enormous reserves of water.  We must plan carefully to build efficient drainage, sewage treatment and solid waste management systems that will help to preserve our natural water resources.

 

The challenge for us lies in nurturing the birth of a municipality that stands out for its sustainable, orderly and harmonious development, one that will serve as a model for the state, the Peninsula, this country and all of Latin America.

 

As a member of the Akumal Development Council I suggest the following:

  • Give the birth of this municipality the importance it deserves.

  • Become active in forming of the interim Municipal Council to ensure that we are properly represented, and avoid the imposition of someone undesirable.

  • Make sure that our representative is appointed head of the Urban Development and Environmental Planning Department.  This will help us ensure that established ground use and densities will not be changed and to supervise sustainable urban development and population growth.  It will also see that construction licenses are issued in accordance with existing construction and environmental regulations to avoid further harm to Akumal's environment and economy.

  • To make this possible the council must set up a special committee that includes professional consultants on political matters as well as Urban Development and Environmental Planning.

  • That committee must have a proper budget to hire consultants and pay for the preparation of proposals required to achieve our goals.

  • It is of utmost importance that we find and nominate one or more candidates for a seat on the Municipal Council as soon as possible, which is the only way to guarantee that we will have voice and vote in this important process. 

 Thank you for your attention. 

 Yours truly,

 Gonzalo Arcila

 P.S. We will be holding a meeting on Thursday, May 15 for anyone who has questions about the current situation with the new municipality.  It will be in the new Akumal Council Office, upstairs in the Old Fidecaribe building at 10:00.

 There will be a General Assembly Meeting held on Friday, June 27 at 10:00 at the same location.

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