Attached is a letter that is being drafted by a concerned business owner and member of the SPBA. This letter will be sent to media outlets tomorrow.
This draft is being sent to you, as business owners, to see if anyone else would like to add their name/business as a signee. Also, to the organizations included, would you like to be listed as a signee also.
If yes, please let us know asap, as the newspaper deadline is tomorrow at noon.
San Pedro Business Association <[email protected]>
Because the Mayor and SPTC have not run the affairs of our island as they should
have two huge misfortunes have befallen our island in the past few weeks.
1. Our water supply collapsed this Easter due to contamination of the filter
system in the Consolidated Water Supply desalination plant. This ruined the
stay of thousands of tourists during this critical holiday and many will (a) not
return to our island and (b) will spread the word that weíre so backward here
on Ambergris Caye that we donít even take showers. Weíre all 100%
dependent on tourism on this island. This will really hurt us in the months and
years to come.
2. Our Mayor has decided to unilaterally increase some property taxes by as
much as 4000% (yes, thatís FOUR THOUSAND PERCENT) because she
says the SPTC is short of cash. If this ridiculous and irresponsible tax increase
is allowed to ďstickĒ it will scare off investors and kill all property sales on
Ambergris Caye. Central Government will be deprived of valuable revenues in
the form of the Stamp Transfer Tax and just about all new building work will
halt causing mass unemployment in the construction industry.
The responsibilities of the Mayor and San Pedro Town Council are pretty limited:
Collect the garbage, maintain and clean the roads, register/licence vehicles and issue
parking tickets, collect trade and liquor license fees and issue certificates for same and
issue building permits where new construction has been approved.
Only the garbage collection and road cleaning/maintenance require extensive use of
funds collected via. property taxes. The other items are supported by their own fee
Matters that our Mayor and San Pedro Town Council members do NOT have to get
involved in include cutting sweetheart deals with environment-destroying developers
(read Mr. David Mitchell, Grand Belize Estates and Sugar Caye). One cannot blame
Mr. Mitchell for his entrepreneurial spiritÖif you can pay off local government
officials in order to make money why not do it? We also donít need the Mayor and
SPTC to get involved in fancy plans for a costly boardwalk at the rear of the old
football field or in plans for a pricey civic center. At least not while they donít get the
basics done right.
The Mayorís threatened (and in some cases already billed) tax increases clearly show
that she and her SPTC members are incapable of carrying out the limited
responsibilities detailed above in this letter without totally screwing up the books. If
she does not back down from these ridiculous business-destroying tax increases we as
citizens and business people will have no option but to demand, and if necessary pay
for, a full and complete audit of the last four years of SPTC accounts. Itís not the
Mayorís personal money, itís OURS, the taxpayerís, and itís our right to demand such
The sweetheart deals cut with developers by the Mayor and SPTC members clearly
show a disregard for the environment and overall well-being of our island and its
economy. For a little bit of personal reward from the developer to the SPTC members
we lost our water supply over a most critical holiday period. We lost acres of prime
mangrove wetlands on the Sugar Caye site. Now the developer, Mr. Mitchell, is
acting in defiance of a court injunction stopping him from building an
environmentally disastrous road to his Grand Belize Estates development. As we said
earlier in this letter: One can hardly blame him when he is given the tacit blessing of
the SPTC and Mayor.
Here is the message of this letter to the Mayor and SPTC members: Back off these
ridiculous tax increases. Get your house in order (well, our house really, itís our
island after all) by stopping the leakage of tax payer money for personal gain. Collect
all past due Property Taxes (over $4 million!), collect all past due Trades and Liquor
licence fees, stop the leakage of over 90% of the cash collected at the toll bridge. Quit
the sweetheart deals with slash and burn developers. THEN the Mayor can look at
limited and sensible tax increases to cover any slight shortfall genuinely encountered.
In short, they should carry out the limited responsibilities for which they ran for office
in an honest and conscientious manner.
LOOK AFTER OUR ISLAND, THAT IS WHAT YOU WERE ELECTED TO DO, NOTHING MORE OR LESS.