A tribute to La Isla Bonita
By Lisa Shoman

I want to pay tribute this morning to San Pedro. Yes, that San Pedro, La Isla Bonita.

San Pedro tends to get a terrible reputation for insularity, for wanting to be its own republic, for being a fleshpot of sin and iniquity that constantly wants to kick people off the island -and it deserves all that.

But San Pedro is also a small close knit community that loves hard, and pulls together magnificently in crisis, especially when one of their own is involved. I think of the terrible, tragic death of Jeffrey Eiley that affected not just the entire Eiley/Foreman/Arceo/Leslie clan, but all islanders in a just demand for a full hospital.

And I think of the strange and horrible case of Anke and David Doehm that galvanized San Pedranos born and raised and expat residents alike.

But today, I want to write a valentine to the village where I spent so much happy time in my childhood going to mass without shoes.

You see, if Casimiro is the villain in the Carrie Tripodi assault, the hero is San Pedro and San Pedranos. It was San Pedranos like Maresha Reid and her Bar coworkers who heard Carrie's cries and came to her rescue. It is people like Brittney ODaniel who went with her and her friends to the Police Station to get a medico form, then to the Polyclinic at 1:30 am, and then back to the Police Station to give statements and provide the necessary medical evidence.

San Pedro is people like the staff at the Sandbar Restaurant who hours after Carrie, their beloved Bar manager was attacked, put up the horrific, searing post, with her permission, apologizing for its graphic nature, to alert residents and to find the scum, Casimiro.

San Pedro is people like those who tracked down Casimiro on April 2, found him, followed his progress southward from North Ambergris and made sure he waited at the pier until police came finally to pick him up after dozens of calls were made by others to the Police.

San Pedro is people like the two companies that fired him forthwith from their employ.

There are so many more in San Pedro who make life there worthwhile. An assault or rape survivor can feel so alone, but Carrie Tripodi had her community stand by her, and it will make all the difference in her recovery.

There are so many reasons to love La Isla Bonita - the sea, the reef, the sand, the sun, the beauty...it goes on. But the main reason to love San Pedro is SanPedranos, born and made by choice.