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Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 84,400
Marty Offline OP
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First created 14 years ago as a sub-division, the San Mateo community continues to be neglected. Residents have been deprived of the basic infrastructures required to have a normal life by world standards. After land was distributed in 1997 by the then Mayor of San Pedro Manuel Heredia JR, with the understanding that it would be improved, residents are now demanding that the adequate infrastructure be placed. The frustration and issues affecting San Mateo is not a new subject to San Pedro. In fact it has been chronicled time and time again in The San Pedro Sun. Most recently San Mateo was featured in the Spring 2012 publication of M-Powered, a magazine produced by journalism students from the University of Mississippi (Ole Miss) USA, who visited the San Mateo area.

What is frustrating to the 569 residents of the San Mateo subdivision is the condition they are forced to live in. While it is a culture shock for visitors who may learn that within Belize's number-one tourism destination lies one of the poorest and badly planned subdivisions in the entire country, the issues at hand are a harsh reality for the people who live there. The subdivision lacks proper potable water services, adequate road infrastructure, adequate or sufficient energy distribution and no sewage system. Homes are surrounded by mangrove swamps and the only hope of landfill materials available is the garbage collected from the island that is trucked into the area by the San Pedro Town Council (SPTC). The island's garbage, combined with the improper waste disposal from the area poses not only an environmental concern but a very serious health hazard that residents have to live with on a daily basis, one that could be detrimental to the entire island.

"We would want to see government, Town Council or Central Government, do more for this area� I feel its high-time now. We are here for 14 long years and as you can see the conditions remain almost the same. We still don't have the proper infrastructure," said a very frustrated Everett Palacio, who is the Pastor of a local church and a resident of the San Mateo area. According to Palacio, residents paid $500 for a parcel of land which was sold to them by the former Mayor and now three- term Area Representative Manuel Heredia Jr. "We got the land with the understanding that they would have dredged and filled the area and put in the infrastructure," continued Palacio.

Since 1997 the issues affecting San Mateo have been tossed around by four elected central government administrations (1998 to 2003, 2003 to 2008 under PUP; 2008 to 2012 and 2012 to present under UDP) with little excuse for making headway with the needed infrastructure. "In 1998 Heredia lost the election and the blue (PUP) took over. When we went to the PUP they told us that they cannot do anything because it was Mr. Heredia who gave out the land. Mr. Heredia said there was nothing he could do because he was not in power� In 2003 he (Heredia) won as Area Representative but the PUP won and again he told us that nothing could be done because his party was not in government� We waited an additional five years until 2008 when Heredia won and the red (UDP) took over Central Government and we went after him and then it was another story. It has been like that, feeding and feeding us with all kinds of this stuff� it has been 14 years of false promises," summarized Palacio.

Because San Mateo lacks the proper road infrastructure, utility companies cannot access the area with heavy machinery to place proper running water and electricity. Running water is limited and for those who have access, it's a luxury because San Mateo residents pay 55 cents per gallon of water compared to the 5 cents per gallon in other parts of the island and country. The overpriced water rate is paid to the SPTC who buys water from Belize Water Service and re-sells it to the resident in San Mateo. Electricity is not available to all in the area. Where electricity is available, the tangled wires stretch for as far as you can see placed on improper, thin sticks adding to a fire hazard as well as electrocution in the area. Those who have electricity get exorbitant bills because of poor wiring condition of the homes and the distance from which the main meter is to the homes.

Click here to read the rest of the article and see more photos in the San Pedro Sun

Joined: Mar 2001
Posts: 2,733
Why can not these people be more patient. After all, the road north of the bridge needs to be fixed first so people can get to their condos on the beach and the high end resorts without damaging their golf carts, SUV's and ATV's. sick

Joined: Mar 2004
Posts: 705
Bywarren was 20 seconds ahead of me on this one, so I sat back to see what the response would be. NADA. What a thread killer.

Maybe afraid of the obvious. I'm pre-San Mateo, pre-Reef Village. But, you have them both, plus the "new" north places.

The island has to deal with it. Where would the referendum come down-provide basic human needs in San Mateo, OR, get the the folks up north a nice road.

While I'm at it--where's the Area Rep.? Is his greatest accomplishment(as Tourism Minister) really a cemetary??

Flyfishing my way through mid-life crisis.
Joined: Nov 2000
Posts: 8,880
Erm, did you think the Area Rep should have had them start burying the bodies in San Mateo?

A fish and a bird can fall in love, but where will they build their nest?

Joined: Mar 2001
Posts: 2,733
I see this as another example of the lack of investment in infrastucture and planing - What "Master Plan"?
I did two subdivsions in Arkansas. I was required to build the road from the existing county road to the subdivisions. One a quarter mile, the other two and a half miles. Not a small investment. Once the roads were built, the county provided the services my tax dollers go for, i.e. fire, police, road maintenance etc.
My opinion is the developers and those who choose to build past existing acceptable roads, should provide at their expense the initial road building.
Before the government sold those lots in San Mateo, they should have invested in the infrastucture needed.
If people want to build resorts and homes up north, and expect the government to provide services, they should extend the road to service those properties at their expense. Once built and property taxes being paid, the government should provide services to them including maintaining the road.
And to those who complain, "we don't want a bridge, we bought here to be away from crime and traffic".
Well, you are living in the past. Go buy your own island and make your own rules.

Joined: Nov 2000
Posts: 8,880
Sold the lots in San Mateo??

A fish and a bird can fall in love, but where will they build their nest?

Joined: Mar 2001
Posts: 2,733
Yes, $500 as stated in the article.

Joined: Jul 2008
Posts: 1,206
Perhaps the government should cut their loses, refund the $500 and close the neighborhood (if 500 families, in fact, did pay for their lots, that would come close to the $300K needed just for electrical). The entire area is a death trap from a health, environmental and safety standpoint.

Seems to me that relocating these people to higher ground with better potential of utilities (mennonite houses / trailers) would be less expensive in the long run....

Last edited by SnoopysMom; 06/01/12 07:43 AM.
Joined: Nov 2000
Posts: 5,563
My understanding (from the document my yard man has) is that the land was 'leased' to individuals (in this case for $300) and they have so any years to pay off the balance. (In this case $3,000)
Is that out dated info

Take only pictures leave only bubbles
Joined: Mar 2001
Posts: 2,733
To me it is not an issue as to how the people acquired the property. The government encouraged, or at the least allowed, them to live in that area. The government should provide the basic infrastructure to at the very least provide for a safe, healthy environment. A health epidemic on the island would effect all. A typhoid epidemic, for instance, would be a much greater "inconvenience" to all those living on the island and would make a bad road getting to the north seem a minor inconvenience.
It boils down to priorities and I agree the government should be doing much more than it is.

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