Forty years ago, there were no newspapers in San Pedro- no Belize Times, no Belize Billboard (the NIP or opposition newspaper), no Amandala, no Guardian, not even the San Pedro Sun or Ambergris Today.
Yes, we did get some radio news via the BHBC (British Honduras Broadcasting Corporation), but that was limited to those fortunate persons who could afford the luxury of a radio. Therefore, important information was limited. Apart from school textbooks, there were very limited reading materials on the island. There were a few individuals, one or two, who had comic books for rental, but that was mostly entertainment. So it means that we did not get news of wars or earthquakes or any significant world events until 2 or 3 months later, if we ever did get them. In other words, we were ignorant to many news, inventions or current events.
When you come to think of it also, the little that occurred in Ambergris Caye never reached the rest of the country nor the world. It is not that nothing important happened, but there was no communication tool to-spread it to those who should have been concerned.
There were no advertisements by stores and other businesses. Classified ads were passed on byword of mouth. If a store wanted to advertise the arrival of pork hams for Christmas, the hams were hung all over the store so that customers would notice. Apples were placed on the counter and other advertising techniques would be used internally.
A dance was announced on a blackboard or chalkboard that was carried around the village and a little boy following and ringing a bell. A funeral announcement and invitation was done on a formal note. This letter was taken from house to house by one special person, Mr. Rivero, whom his friends know as Don Tach. Real estate sales were made known in casual conversations on the streets or especially at the bars. You might wonder why the bar. Well, the land or property owner would usually be relaxing at the bar and there he would meet a casual potential buyer. No, there were no real estate offices either.
Discontentments were not handled by a letter to the editor. They were handled by a good fist fight whenever the proper occasions arose- a gal in the bar. The local small news did spread faster by gossip rather than newspaper. Conservation and preservation tips were not there nor were they necessary as there was an abundance of lobster, bonefish, turtles and manatees.A love doctor was unnecessary since people married for love and not for convenience.
Because we had no newspaper, we did not really need one nor missed it. Today, things have changed. San Pedro would not tick on if every Thursday we did not get our latest headlines, rumors, health tips, teen talk or latest advertisings of products and services. Newspapers have added a new and dynamic dimension in our lives. They are fresh, current, positive, educational, entertaining and add one more aspect to the information society that dominates our world today.