And while the city council is selling bonds hand over fist - it has run into a brick wall with a slight new project they're trying on Marine Parade.
It's an effort to move the mini-fish-market off the seawall at the junction of Marine Parade and Newtown Barracks.
The idea that's being floated is to build a shelter for them on the jetty that juts out from the Marine Parade seawall.
The first problem with the plan is that the Hunt Family has proprietary access to that jetty by virtue of what's called riparian rights - meaning they had sea front property before the marine parade road was built so their access to the sea has to be preserved to some extent.
The second problem is that the fishermen themselves don't want to move. We got all sides of the story today - and start first with the design intended by Councilor Roger Espejo:
Roger Espejo - Councilor With Responsibility for Economic Development
"You're right in saying that it is an attempt - and a very well-calculated one - to fix a problem that we have here at the Marine Parade, in terms of bottlenecks being created by the motoring public, and also sanitation issues that are present and that have been around for a while in terms of the cleaning of fish, and the disposal of fish waste in the area, sometimes on sidewalk and seawall, and a lot of other things surrounding the general hanging out of the local fishermen in this area. First and foremost, what we are doing is for the greater benefit of the entire public. These fishermen have operated in this fashion for a while, to the best of their own ability. What we're doing now is complimenting their operation with a shelter - it's only about 200 yards away - where motorists can actually pull over in the parking bay, and more properly buy the fish that they sell. We estimate the project to be completed within a week's time, when we will ask them to sign a very small and friendly memorandum to say that they will operate by some very specific but prudent guidelines in terms of the way that they operate, the way that they sell their fish, and the way they carry themselves here in public."
"But the shelter is being built on a pier which established to maintain the riparian rights of certain families in Belize City who had beachfront properties which were developed. How can these families still make use of the pier if the shelter and the fishermen will be active in that location?"
"When you speak of rights, we are totally respectful of rights. That structure will not enjoy any market status. It will not be outfitted with any utilities. It is simply a shelter where they can more properly sell their product from. We applaud - at the Belize City Council - these fishermen are self-sustainable. So, really and truly, nothing is changing in terms of rights, as a matter of fact, quite the opposite. It's - if you will - improving upon the rights of the neighborhood in this community because they themselves, upon many times have approached the City Council to do something about this problem in the neighborhood."
"So are you saying that they are scoffing at the decisions you've made to try to fix one problem by saying not in my backyard?"
"It's not an NIMBY issue for the simple reason that the community collectively have clamors to the Belize City Council, and not only the neighborhood community here, but the entire general public that uses this area on a daily basis even, have called time and again to do something about this very small issue. And this is our response to it."
And we spoke to the fishermen who say that if they are forced to move from where they are, their lives will be in danger because that location which the council wants to put them is dangerous. They told us that they work late into the night, the area is not well-lit, and it has been the scene of armed robberies in the past.
Plus, they also cited the fact that the original fish market from the 60's was situated right where they are:
"I get to understand that the City Council wants to move you all from here. Is that a good move in your opinion?"
Dane Carcamo - Fisherman
Dane Carcamo - Fisherman
"Because we don't agree with what they are doing with us because we are originally cleaning men from out of the Barracks. We deal with fish out here, and we are not happy that they are trying to move us and push unto that pier over there because over there is where they rob, kill and rape people up that way. We would want them to put the market here for us."
"I understand what you are saying, sir, but that's only 200 yards away."
"Yes, but sometimes we are out here until night, and that's around the time when gunmen come out. And some time we don't have gun out here. We are trying to make a living, and it's off of fish that we make our money, right. We don't agree with that. We are all hustlers out here, like my friend busting open the jewfish head, and this young man cleaning fish. What are we going to do up there? They are sending us in a dark hole for them to rob us, kill us and take away our earning? So, is it crime that they are tolerating or promoting?"
Shelton Reyes - Fisherman
"How will you move us up there, and then you have tourist who go out and use that pier? You have tourist boats and other boats which launch there. It's going to be a problem. It's like those guys want to set us up. It's like the guy doing it is not thinking. How old is the guy that's doing it? Is he as old as me? I'm 45 years-old. How old is he?
"Sir, but you do realize that you guys pose a risk to the community by being in this location. You block the traffic when you conduct your business here."
"We understand that, but listen, the traffic was blocked from back in the 60's. Just because the tourist thing came around, they want to take us for clowns. That's not going to work. We are black men, and we are trying to live. What do they want us to do, rob somebody or do something wrong? We are out here from in the 60's. Why can you just build a pier here? Why do you have to move us down there where there are no business spots? Nobody goes down there to buy fish; they come and buy it here. In the nights and evenings, only robberies and killings happen over there. We are up here; we're safe."
"Why do you feel safe here, sir?"
"There's more traffic, and then, there are more business places. We are already used to this place, so you've got to listen to us. Mr. Bradley came and gave us some lights. Now, he is trying to move us? Bradley, don't mess with me."
And before we end off on the topic of the Marine Parade, we must note the Bhojwani Promenade. It was constructed by the last Mayor, Zenaida Moya, and it was officially unveiled almost a year ago.
The promenade was controversial because of the garish cultural mash-up featuring colonial canons and a Tikal looking temple, and because many city residents believed that it should have been named after a historic Belizean.
Well, Councilor Espejo told us today that the promenade will revert to its unnamed state:
"The Belize City Council is in full tune with the Belize City Master plan, and it does respect the entire of this area, as it has locally and traditionally been used and enjoyed. It may have escaped the public that recently, we removed the Bhojwani Promenade markers because we see this place as Belizean public space primarily, to be enjoyed in a traditional way, perhaps with novel upliftment, but at the same time, for all to enjoy."
There's more from the city council later as we'll tell you why they intend to close one of the most trafficked stretches of street in the city for a whole month!