December 11, 2007
Anthony Samuels stopped by our news center today to complain of a situation that occurred in San Pedro last week.
“In San Pedro the Mayor and three police came and forced me to pack up myself and my stuff that I sell on the beach and there were few more other guys that were able to use the public facility as Belizeans. And that violate our right as Belizeans because they allow people from other countries to set up shop and sell and at the same time we can’t sell our carvings and jewelry.”
Ava Diaz,Love FM:
“You said the Mayor and a couple police officers came to remove you, at that time did they tell you why you were being removed?”
“Tourists were buying from my stall and after a couple sales they told me that I can’t sell no more and to lock off my shop and I asked what’s going on and he introduced herself as Elsa Paz, the mayor of San Pedro and she introduced herself and told me that I need to pack up my stuff and relocate to another further area and stuff like that. She packed up a lot of black people and told them to relocate but at the same time the argument is that she allowed people that are not born in this country to sell on the same beach she removed us from and I asked her personally in front of the police officers after apologizing for not sending any notice. She still gave instructions to the officers to pack me up.”
Ava Diaz,Love FM:
“You mentioned something about $37.50, what is that about?”
“She has a new agenda and a big thatch house called a palapa that she wants you to under and then you have to pay $37.50 as a vendor to sell every week under the palapa and then you have to pay for police and so that’s what she was explaining to me. My point is this, how are you going to move me? Which law verifies or states that you could move a Belizean and it’s okay or who has some kind of special privilege for people not from this country? What kind of excuse is that for a mayor? This is not fair.”
Love News spoke with Mayor Elsa Paz who told us the Town Council has been renovating the Central Park since last year. She said all vendors and artisans were removed from Central Park and they were not permitted to sell on the beach. Mayor Paz said there have been many instances where because of competition between the artisans fights would erupt and something needed to be done. She said a meeting was held with the artisans to address the situation.
Elsa Paz, Mayor of San Pedro:
“All the artisans came and the administrators worked out an agreement and they signed the agreement and paid for their space and their trade license and we moved them to the palapa. The same thing happened with the food vendors. We moved them by the wall more on the beach because there was a lot of bbq on the streets and people are complaining. Also we have a lot of tourists that complain that a lot of those artisans that are selling crafts on the beachfront and drugs to tourists and we decided that the best thing that we can do is to relocate them all together underneath a palapa and we have a substation there where two police are stationed and they could monitor the artisans because there is always fights between them. That was the decision taken by the council that we will remove everybody and they all agreed to it and only three persons wanted to stay on the street facing Alliance Bank, the rasta guy and there was another rasta guy by a fence and there was another guy behind a palm tree and I was speaking to him and tried to clarify it. I personally have a lot of families that are black people too so I don’t have a reason to be discriminating anyone. The leader of our party is black too. The Deputy Mayor is a Garifuna black person too and so I don’t think he has any reason to say that I am discriminating and if I was discriminating then I wouldn’t even be dealing with the black people. So I just want to clarify that. It’s not anything about discrimination. It’s organization the groups to come together under one location.”
Elsa Paz, Mayor of San Pedro.