vlcsnap-2013-04-09-19h42m13s112Placencia Village will soon open its pier and marina to yachts and other sea vessels. The Village of Placencia is getting ready to make its mark in the tourism industry as one of the top destinations in Belize. Placencia can be accessed by air, land and sea; and with the ongoing construction of the new pier, the current village council is hoping that the facility will increase commerce within that community. Placencia’s Village Chairman; Charles Leslie Jr. tells us more.

Charles Leslie Jr – Placencia’s Village Chairman:
vlcsnap-2013-04-09-19h47m40s67One of the key components of that project is the pier, and it also incorporates the renovation of the sidewalk that runs through the village.† It has been widened by a foot, and so now it’s four feet wide.† The pier will basically be a focal point where commercial fishermen will be able to sell their produce, where also tourists will migrate. It will be a social interactive and economic area, where the cooperative right now is investing money into upgrading their facilities, to tie into that project,

The project got started last year February and is expected to be completed by the end of May this year after which the pier and marina will be open for docking. Leslie says that his vision upon completion is to have the dock declared as a port of entry.

Charles Leslie Jr – Placencia’s Village Chairman:
What I vision happening is, once the dock is finished, we’ll be able to have it designated a Port of Entry.† Once it becomes a Port of Entry, then we’ll have, for example, the Guatemalans that go all the way to San Pedro and Caye Caulker coming to Placencia.† They’ve always expressed that they like Placencia, but they don’t want to stop in Placencia, because there wasn’t proper facilities to leave their very expensive boats. With this, now they’ll be able to leave their boats.† They’ll have access to water.† They’ll have access to electricity.† And they’ll have access to security. Also on this dock, we’ll have rental spaces for kiosks, where people will be able to rent, and sell whatever food, towels, anything they want.† It will generate a lot of economic activity within that area.

The project is being carried out by Maheias United.

With years of developments and expansion of the Village, Placencia now finds itself facing a major challenge. According to the Village Chairman, Charles Leslie Jr., Placencia Village is fast running out of land space.

Charles Leslie Jr – Placencia’s Village Chairman:
vlcsnap-2013-04-09-20h43m21s136The Hulse property in Placencia Village, we want that piece of property to remain as a public property, not for any business expansion, but for public use. Right now we are using for lobster fest, we use it for Easter, we use it for our May Day fair – we want to get that event jump started and officially have something every year. We want to keep that property for the community, not to build anything on it, maybe a park, some infrastructure to properly organize the vendors in Placencia so that they have clean bathroom facilities and fresh running water. So they have a healthy, centralized location where they can sell their products to visiting tourists.

The property he speaks about is parcel #3234, which is approximately 15 acres and commonly referred to as the Hulse Estate. Leslie told Plus news that the council now finds itself in an uncomfortable situation as someone from Jamaica recently made claim to the 15 acres. If the parcel is granted to the claimant Leslie says, the Village Council will have no means of expanding.

Charles Leslie Jr – Placencia’s Village Chairman:
They are the only public lands left within Placencia Village. Imagine if they take those lands away and they come and develop it, fence it off and build homes or whatever Ė lobster fest, an area where people could socialize on the beach, public parking, all that stuff will be gone forever. It would be completely unfair to the people of Placencia if the Government makes this slip through their fingers.

And so you understand that a gentleman from Jamaica has been putting some interests?

Charles Leslie Jr – Placencia’s Village Chairman:
Yes, he is the person that is claiming the property through his relation to Ms. Hulse, who was the mistress of Archbishop Dunn. I donít believe they ever married, but she lived with him. He heard about the property a few years ago, and since then he has been trying to acquire that property.

The Village Council has written an official letter, dated February 4th, 2013 to Prime Minister Dean Barrow as well as Deputy Prime Minister Gaspar Vega, in asking for assistance and support in procuring this piece of land for further village expansion.