3 Wishes 4 Caye Caulker
By Wendy Auxillou
It might already be too late, but since we are still technically in the first month of the new year, perhaps I can still make three important wishes for my home village, Caye Caulker.
First of all, I wish for the urgent Northside electrification of Caye Caulker. Southside Caye Caulker is growing by leaps and bounds until it is now bursting at the seams with the demand for residential space. With every passing year, more and more expansion and development takes place on South Caye Caulker, straining the boundaries of residential lots and as a result the tempers of once loving neighbors. Many Caye Caulker residents indeed hold leases or titles for other property thanks to this present government. However, even with titles in hand, most villagers find it difficult if not impossible to develop these lands due to a lack of electrification in the areas where the leases have been issued. Most of the land on Northside Caye Caulker is already privately owned, yet the development on this side of the island is scant and lethargic due to a lack of discussion even, much less any concrete plans, for providing this basic utility infrastructure to the North side of the island. It is my belief that electrification of the north side of Caye Caulker will result in an immediate construction and economic boom resulting in an expanded tax base to the benefit of the village, the government and the Belize Tourism Board. Not to mention, a collective sigh of relief from Southside villagers who wish nothing more than to provide for their own family pods a little residential breathing space other than the congestion that Caye Caulker is fast becoming. I wish too, that providing electricity to the Northside of Caye Caulker would become an urgent and pressing priority to BELís policy-making committee. I mean, how difficult can it really be to string electric wires fifty feet across the split and onto the North side?
My second wish is that a plan be put in place to replenish the Caye Caulker beach once every five years. I would like to see a portion of the needed monies for same be budgeted and set aside yearly so that the funds are readily available upon renewal and at beach renourishment time. It is my further wish that this beach be renourished again before the end of this year. The state of Florida in the United States, a state whose economy depends greatly on the tourism dollar, understands that a huge tourism draw to their state is having nice beaches. While we cannot compete and should not compete with Floridaís beaches, the truth is that our tiny beaches on this ultra-narrow island suffer from terrible erosion yearly due to passing storms and hurricanes. Since the beach was last re-nourished about five years ago (for the first time in the history of the island and thanks to this present government), it has undergone at least forty feet of erosion. If this trend continues, and there is no reason to believe it will NOT continue courtesy of the increased storm activity yearly, within two years, most of the buildings along the Caye Caulker coastline will once again be submerged in water. With a little forward planning, we can work at eliminating this crisis at the onset. In the meantime, it would certainly help if the Village Council would put aside its collective ego trip and work really hard at encouraging private seawalls in an effort to preserve what little of the beach there is left at this time.
My third wish for Caye Caulker is that urgent plans be made for the provision of a water treatment plant so that our people can have water to drink that is at least as good as the water they water the grass with on the neighboring island of Caye Chapel. Caye Caulker is a rapidly growing tourist destination, with upwards of three to five hundred tourists arriving daily in high season. Yet, we remain quite primitive in terms of providing even the basic infrastructure such as life-giving water. Our hand dug wells of yesterday are inadequate and unable to feed the growing development on this island. The water table is eroded, depleted and over-burdened. Urgent planning is needed in order to avoid an imminent water crisis in the short-term future.
If I can put a fourth wish in for braata, it would be that the Caye Caulker Village Council provide urgently to its villagers proper accounting for all the monies it has collected over the years at the garbage dump site. Although I am not against charging a fee for garbage disposal, I certainly balk at the idea of this site being used as a cash cow to fleece villagers of their hard-earned monies without accountability as is now occurring. As far as I can recall, every one entering the dump area to dispose of garbage is charged a fee, yet no one that I know of has ever received a receipt, much less an official one, for same. Who is keeping a tally of how much monies the dump site generates, and where that money is funneled to? Enquiring minds would like to know. Without proper receipts and accounting, I will admit my fertile imagination conjurers up ugly thoughts.
Agree or disagree? Please write to me at [email protected]