Mayor Manuel Heredia, Jr. J.P., The Right
Honourable Manuel Esquivel and the Honourables
Eduardo Juan and Henry Young.
The construction of the water and sewerage system commenced in 1994 and continued until March of this year. The water distribution system was operational in June of 1996 and the sewer system was brought into operation earlier this month. Funding was jointly provided through the government of Belize and WASA of $10 million dollars and a loan of $16.8 million from the Caribbean Development Bank.
Among the special government official guests were the Right Honourable Manuel Esquivel, Prime Minister of Belize, Minister of Natural Resources, Hon. Eduardo Juan, Minister of Tourism and the Environment, Hon. Henry Young, His Lordship, the Mayor of San Pedro Town, Manuel Heredia Jr., Deputy Mayor Fidel Ancona and Louis Sylvestre, Standard Bearer for the Belize Rural South.
MC Halliday welcomed the public and introduced the special government guests.Welcome remarks were given by Mayor Heredia. He said that he hoped that everyone would enjoy the wonderful project and that all the people of San Pedro Town would definitely profit from the project the Government has worked so hard along with the Water and Sewage Authority (WASA) to provide. Louis Sylvestre also gave a few words of praise in his speech to the Prime Minister and those involved in the Water and Sewer project. The Prime Minister gave the keynote address and spoke of the newly implemented Health Plan for 1996 to the year 2000 that has been established. He said that the plan will help to bring about a healthier society in general. He went on to say that the project was an expensive one but it was completed under the budget of BZ $26.8 million dollars. The total completing cost was BZ $24.8 million dollars. The Prime Minister said, "I'm happy to hear that the project was completed under budget, usually Government projects are over budget." He commented on the importance of proper and sanitary water and the need for water not only in quantity but also in quality for San Pedro's tourism industry and San Pedranos. He also said that the project was a large one where money is concerned but was finished in 18 months, record timing. The Prime Minister concluded, "I would like to congratulate the Mayor and his councilors and the people of San Pedro."
Minister Young started his speech by saying, "It's moments like this when politicians feel good about being politicians." He said that since the UDP government has been in office they have done all that they have promised to do and that San Pedro has received the most from the Government, more than any other town. And that the government has improved on town finances, health, water and the police. He made mention of the San Pedro runway and the need for improvement, referring to the contract already signed to carry out the repairs for early next year. He said that San Pedro will soon be established as a port of entry into Belize, so that people will not have to go to the international airport - they could come straight to San Pedro. Minister Young said the need for better electricity will be addressed and mentioned that a bridge will soon be built to the north of San Pedro Town. He also reassured the public that the Town Board has acquired more land and will soon be issuing lots to the public. Regarding taxation, he said the Prime Minister will be reviewing the list of Zero Rated Goods and will be looking into adding other goods that need to be Zero Rated to the list. Minister Young concluded with, "I can proudly say that the government has done most of the promises made to San Pedro... While we say water is free from heaven the water you are receiving is very expensive. Use it wisely."
Eduardo Juan, Minister of Natural Resources in his speech before the ribbon cutting said, "Welcome to this momentous occasion in our Belizean lives." He stressed the importance of having proper water supply and said, "Water is life and life is what we have brought to San Pedro." Minister Juan said that San Pedro's water system is second to none in Belize, the Caribbean and in Central America and Belizeans should be proud of that. He also said that the water quality is so great that you could almost bottle and sell it as bottled water. He concluded with, "The UDP Government does not promise, we fulfill."
After Minister Juan's speech the gathering moved over to the pumping station where Minister Juan cut the red ribbon that draped from one end of the stairs to next. He was apologetic to the Prime Minister about having to cut his party color. Tours of the water system were provided.