Where Did Your Land Come From? Part II

n the 1960's George Price and his government acquired the entire San Pedro area and put it into the hands of San Pedranos. In 1971 the San Juan Area was similarly acquired by George Price's government and issued 50% to San Pedranos and another 50% or so to other Belizeans choosing to make San Pedro their home.

However, the need for land did not stop there. Our population is not stagnant. It is always growing. The wealthier Belizeans looking for better opportunities seek New York. Los Angeles and Chicago in the U. S . A. . Of the poorer Belizeans seeking for job opportunities, many end up in San Pedro where many jobs were created due to the development of the tourism industry during the past 10 to 15 years. We can safely say that the island's population jumped from 500 in 1970 to 5,000 in the 1990's - an increase of 1000%. WOW! What an increase! For San Pedro this is good as well as bad, but that is another subject of discussion for our editor or for an "Open Forum" writer. The point in question is that more land was needed if these people will be housed on the island.

Obviously, the hotels and businesses do not provide land for their employees. Who is to do this? The Government. Around 1988 a third phase of "land for the people" came about with the creation of San Pablo. This time it was not directly the government of George Price but the town board in office under the Mayorship of Pedro Salazar Sr. J.P. The town board was actively seeking for land for housing, for a church. for a new school, for a sports field. Private land was, and still is expensive. Real estate has raised the price of land so that it is out of reach of the ordinary citizen. PUP Mayor Salazar and his team had the solution.

Caribbean Coves, a private company, was selling a sizeable parcel of land that was mangrove swamp and of no use to them. Sunset Coves formed a company, a company of San Pedranos, and purchased the land. For 300 dollars you could own one lot. For 500 dollars two lots. For 1000 dollars 3 lots. The sale was advertised in the newspaper for ALL of the citizens to become partners. Some chose not to buy because they were afraid it would not work. Others chose not to buy because of their political parties.

Soon Sunset Coves was developing a new residential area know as San Pablo. Soon there were roads, and streets and waterways. A dredge worked there for three long years. The church, the sports field, the property for the new school have all been realized. There are close to 50 residential houses with electricity, telephone, cable T.V., city water and a lovely well-planned residential area is growing at San Pablo. It has its first hotel, media house, shop and several large businesses. All 200 owners have received at least one lot. The second and third lots are being processed, but politics is slowing it down considerably. However, San Pablo will be the solution to many lot problems for many years to come. Some people criticized it - calling it swamp Pablo. Others are calling it home. Yes the rains do flood San Pablo, like all the rest of San Pedro too. But it is the third phase in San Pedro's land reform program. The town keeps spreading outward and San Pedro keeps growing.

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