Southern Ambergris Caye Neighbourhood Watch meets to address road and safety concerns
The Southern Ambergris Caye Neighbourhood Watch (SACNW) hosted their general meeting on Wednesday evening, November 9th at the Lone Star Restaurant in Southern Ambergris Caye. Nearly 40 concerned residents, along with members of the San Pedro Police Department, were in attendance to discuss matters affecting the area. The top items on the agenda included safety and the dire conditions of the streets, which is adversely affecting the business community on that side of the island.
President of the SACNW Peter Nolan started the meeting shortly after 7PM, welcoming everyone who made the effort to attend. He immediately touched on the issue of the deplorable road conditions leading to the southern part of the island, and how it is greatly affecting tourism in that area of the island. “Business has been turned away in this area because of the road,” said Nolan. “Hotel operators in this area have been forced to reposition their guests to other places.” It is also affecting the work force, the residents and even the security personnel, the latter of which are having difficulties traversing the area either for routine patrol or responding to emergencies such as crime.
Nolan indicated that he has been meeting with Mayor Daniel Guerrero regarding the situation and the Mayor has committed to assist. However, they also understand that the weather has caused much delay. Guerrero was scheduled to be at the meeting, but due to other arrangements, he was unable to attend. Guerrero had mentioned in the past that plans to start working on all the affected streets on the island were already in place. Despite his absence, he communicated via phone stating that due the urgency of the situation in southern Ambergris Caye, works would commence at the road on Thursday, November 10th. “We have material on all of the streets affected, and more is coming from the quarry up north to properly fix them,” said Guerrero. “As soon as the rain stops we will address this issue, which is affecting everyone.” The Mayor stated in a recent interview with The Sun that the material to be used is of good quality, and the streets will last longer.
In regards to safety, Rodney Perdue informed everyone that crime incidents have been on the rise lately. According to his report, there were at least three separate incidents of burglaries in the area, with the latest being on November 4th. This latest incident saw a house with broken windows, which patrol suspects, may have been broken into. Residents are being advised to safeguard their homes well, to check on each other and to let their neighbours know if they leave town.
Newly posted Officer in Charge of the Coastal Easter Executive Unit Henry Jemmott addressed the audience in reference to safety and crime. He committed to continue working and enforcing community policing. “There will be another police booth built in the DFC Area,” said Jemmott. “From there patrols will be extending to the south all the way to Mosquito Coast. They will merge along with the current patrols carried out by the neighbourhood watch down here.” He reiterated the continued support of the San Pedro Police to the SACNW and also thanked everyone for the excellent working relationship they have been fostering for the past years.
SACNW members were urged to register to train and become special constables. The training is scheduled for December, and new trainees will have more authority to deal with incidents in the area.
The meeting ended with the announcement that talks between the SACNW and the local authorities, including the Area Representative Honourable Manuel Heredia Jr., are to intensify. Members demand that as tax payers, they deserve more attention and they hope to get their concerns properly addressed. In the upcoming week they hope to meet with said authorities, where these demands will be tabled with the hopes of an agreement that will lead to a permanent solution.