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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
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
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
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:
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.
I thanked them for
inviting me and giving Akumal the chance to be represented.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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.
Akumal Council Index
Letters to Municipality
Letters to Membership
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