The so-called Animal Park across from the Baron Bliss Grave was known as part of the city's landscape - except for some years now, those animals - all made of concrete - have been at large - as the park was taken over by a corporate citizen, Santiago Castillo Limited.
Except that corporate citizen had major hold-ups in finishing the renovation of the park. And so it took four years to complete. You might call it late - but it's right on time for the rise of Santino Castillo's political fortunes.
As expected, he took center stage at today's opening, even if it was in Fort George and not Caribbean Shores:
Santino Castillo, UDP Standard Bearer - Caribbean Shores
"I believe that Belizean people honestly are being more civic minded, I say that because after inauguration the bus stop by Pallotti, which is in Caribbean Shores, there were a lot of skepticism if they would destroy it an so far it's been kept very well by the Belizean public that utilizes it, and I personal saw one time a lady scolding a young man about throwing garbage down there, when we have two big garbage bins right there."
"So I believe Belizeans are becoming more civic minded and I believe they will look after this park especially since we put in the children section there, and we will look after it, maintain it clean it and all of that but I believe that Belize is getting to a point we have to police each other to be more civic minded, so that's why I think it would work."
"We put in some nice n lights; I want you to see how it looks at night. But we are hoping that they will say shucks man this is for the children and for people to come and relax have lunch on a Sunday. We're really hoping it will work and we will do our best to try to upkeep it. We have a couple more phases, this park was adopted give or take about 2 1/2 years ago and it got holdup honestly for about a year and a half because Ms. Melanie McField from the MESO American reef system wanted half of the park so we conceded, we were going to give her half and she was going to put a reef theme and we were going to get half and she was getting half and the was going to be San Cas Reef Park. She was trying to get international founding for it and we waited, and waited and after the time passed I decided that with all due respect that we better do it because people were getting impatient."
"First of all I just found out that I got into politics on November 3rd.l There is no way I could have done this from November 3rd till know, secondly if it was political I would have adopted a park in the Caribbean Shores, this is in the Fort George division. So quite honestly, there is nothing political about that. Hopefully I will adopted one in the Caribbean Shores and that will be political."
The park is now open to the public.