Chaos Erupts at Consultation Meeting San Pedro - 01/18/1112:12 AM
Meeting turns sour after fishermen object and complain about the new changes projected to the Old Football Field and Lagoon Area in downtown San Pedro are presented to them at a consultation meeting on Friday, January 14, 2011. Story at www.ambergristoday.com
Re: Chaos Erupts at Consultation Meeting San Pedro - 01/18/1102:01 AM
These issues affect the whole town not just the fisherman. Why are we not being allowed to say what we think? These moneys would be much better spent on streets and sewage collection and treatment. I have spoken to no one in favor of the project although some must be, I guess. Why can't we hash all this out in public meetings? Well if we did the elected officials would have little excuse to ignore our voice, better to just not let us speak then they don't have to ignore us. This whole business of favoritism must end. We can allow no more mangrove destruction. The price we will pay if we continue will be much higher than most realize. It is the mangroves that hold the island together, nothing else.
Re: Chaos Erupts at Consultation Meeting San Pedro - 01/18/1102:52 PM
Angry shouting people talking over one another makes it hard to transcribe but The fisherman are upset about the project proposal to build a boardwalk in the back at the location of the football field that involves dredging and chopping mangroves, The mayor is saying no one wanted Hol Chan marine Reserve either and now look at how we depend on it.. the fisherman say where will we keep out boats and what about the mangroves and the Tarpon. Seashell some where is a plan drawing that ran in the newspaper a few weeks back, i wish i could find it on the net. Its to enhance the river in the back of town with board walk, sea wall and deeper channel of course the river has two sides and the value of the real estate (mangrove) on it opposite bank will go up by millions and guess who as dubiously acquired it?
Re: Chaos Erupts at Consultation Meeting San Pedro - 01/18/1105:21 PM
Thats crazy talk comparing Hol Chan to the football field/boardwalk project that we MUST have. As I recall it was just recently we spent big money on the seawall back there. I remember when we HAD to have a new pier in front of town. Of course just a few years later we change plans, That was millions as I recall between the two projects.
We MUST prioritize the needs of San Pedro and try accomplish each and not wander off from our path until our needs are met, I think the boardwalk project and North Ambergris road are lower priority than streets and sewers, 24 medical attention and adequate police staff to assure our town stays safe and peaceful as it is now.
Another very alarming aspect of this project is the shop locations that are to be included. Certainly the Town Board is not currently equipped to maintain or manage the units. One can only believe that the tenants will be selected by central government and pay rents to them. It will always be a political issue, who gets these shops, maintenance, etc..
Concerning mangrove destruction, it is against the law as are vehicles up north and it is a sad day for Belize and San Pedro when the elected officials believe that they should be able to ignore or change the law to suit their purposes. Until we actually take them to court to make them adhere to the law we will continue to be abused.
We the people are supposed to be governing ourselves through our elected representatives. When the elected representatives do not respond to the wishes of those they purport to represent there is often an unseen part of the picture. Rest assured this project is good for someone but probably very low priority for San Pedro.
It is my understanding that this is a loan that must be repaid. If that is the case I must say not only no but hell no.
All municipal and commercial projects should be on hold until we have an AGREED UPON master plan. This helter skelter type of development with everyone for himself is detracting from our environment and natural beauty which brings our guests here as well as proving itself unsustainable.
Re: Chaos Erupts at Consultation Meeting San Pedro - 01/18/1109:41 PM
Yes , I didn't think that comparing The Hol Chan acceptance to this was much more than an insult to the intelligence of the audience. No one dredged, erected a sea wall or chopped down precious mangroves to create Hol Chan. As far as governing ourselves, I feel like the Canadian Developer is governing us. He got her elect and tells her what to do with our island so he can make his fortune, completely disregarding what problems we will be left with when hes finished and goes home.
Re: Chaos Erupts at Consultation Meeting San Pedro - 01/18/1111:08 PM
Yes Elbert, the favoritism has been blatant and of course it goes beyond Elsa. These deals had to go through our misrepresentative and be approved from on high. It is irresponsible government to say the least. Why they cannot see the importance of protecting what brings our visitors here I will never understand. It is very illogical to tear up the environment to accommodate tourists who won't come if we tear up the environment because it will no longer be a "special place" as it once was. I just don't get it.
Greed is the order of the day. We desperately need a government that cares about the people of San Pedro and the environment in which we live.
I for one am sick and tired of being talked down to by politicians who are not all that sharp. Most Belizeans are intelligent and thoughtful and do not swallow the bunk that our politicians try to dole out. They think they are smarter than the people as a whole because they are in the government but it just ain't so. Even though the educational system has let down many in the community, to think they are fools or not that bright would be a serious mistake. Respect the people.
Our "leaders" need to listen and learn and then try to lead if they are capable, not just "decide" what they will do. Even when the people shout they are not listened to. Whats next, carrying rotten fruit to the meetings?
Re: Chaos Erupts at Consultation Meeting San Pedro - 01/19/1102:04 PM
We've got a similar issue going on down in Placencia (my house is in Maya Beach, north of Placencia)with the proposal of cruise ships. I agree with the above poster that petitions don't work as well as actual protests, with banners, human barriers, and voices being heard.
Re: Chaos Erupts at Consultation Meeting San Pedro - 01/19/1102:46 PM
I agree Catdance62, if people are in general against this,
-it seems like there are many good reasons they are, and -it seems, like mentioned on the Morning Show today, no one in the community was consulted ahead to ask WHAT they want the money to be used for AHEAD of time - like a waste Management Project and Facility maybe??,
why not plan for a Big Protest at the Site? Let the people's voices be heard, not in a yelling match inside the closed doors of a "Consultation Meeting" but out in the Street!
Re: Chaos Erupts at Consultation Meeting San Pedro - 01/19/1102:55 PM
Elsa is running her own game. What the people want isn't a factor. Its what the foreign developers want her to do. When the people can offer more money than them she'll do what they want. The meeting was a sham, it just goes on record she had a meeting and done. full speed ahead on the project!
Re: Chaos Erupts at Consultation Meeting San Pedro - 01/19/1106:01 PM
Katie, the right way is for the government to consult with the affected areas, be it San Pedro or Placencia, BEFORE making decisions. I have never seen an effective petition program in San Pedro. Our public meetings are usually how these matters are brought before the public for discussion. It is a very healthy process if the public sector side is looking for input not just agreement with their predetermined position. By reading the media, talking to folks and through the public consultations it is hard to escape the feeling that the project does not have the support of the community. Any politician who cares should be able to see that and respond. We need to spend on real improvements for the community. This is a poorly thought out(?) use of funds. Petitions would be good and I would be happy to sign one, but I lack confidence that they would be respected by policy makers. We must CAREFULLY elect our next Mayor and Town Council and Area Rep. We need a unified community not one divided by questionable decisions and apparent allegiance to special interests.
Re: Chaos Erupts at Consultation Meeting San Pedro - 01/19/1108:15 PM
How about petitions combined with organized rabble rousing? Yes, Mike ensuring that you vote out current pols at next vote is one thing, but this is happening now. You should be vigorously fighting it now. Take a two or three pronged approach.
Re: Chaos Erupts at Consultation Meeting San Pedro - 01/19/1108:48 PM
You are quit right, we do need the petitions and as much publicity as possible. Fortunately this forum is read by many and is also an effective way to get out the word. We have so many issues, this being one, the proposed labor Law being another, North Ambergris road. I think the most effective here are town meetings where everyone gets to have a say but the government must have the right attitude. When the government does not respond positively it is discouraging. I strongly support any and all efforts to stop this waste of precious money. Money we have to borrow. Another possibility is to daily call in to the morning show with comments and questions on this issue. Others can then call in replies. A petition signature needs to have meaningful identification, like voters registration and address to have any significance and it takes money to accomplish that and many are still afraid to sign petitions for fear of reprisal.
Re: Chaos Erupts at Consultation Meeting San Pedro - 01/19/1109:33 PM
Vote with your checkbook.
If businesses (as an organized group) reached a consensus and TOGETHER withheld their taxes, it'd at least raise an eyebrow. The only problem with this route is the "consensus" part, which is an impossibility. That and who would ever spearhead it (COC, SPBA???)
The motivation for this whole project is simple math:
Get a loan for 6 million. Spend perhaps 4 million on the project, and contract that 4 million out to your relatives/friend's Co's to do say 2 million in actual work. Then when the project falls short/falls into disrepair, appeal to the private sector for donations to complete and/or fix it.
Re: Chaos Erupts at Consultation Meeting San Pedro - 01/19/1110:00 PM
As I explained to the last person circulating a petition (to ask the GOB to curtail crime) who suggested the next step was to withhold taxes, the petition being the first step....you can't do that. My husband who was the elected tax collector in a small New England town, was faced with a community that withheld their taxes (because taxes were too high in their mind). He and the town legally, just sold their property out from under them. I don't think you want that!
Re: Chaos Erupts at Consultation Meeting San Pedro - 01/19/1110:44 PM
...not talking about prop tax, but hotel tax, business tax, etc... Then the recourse for the Town Board would be what? Shut every business down which they obviously cannot do to a large group of businesses/industry stakeholders all at once, at the peak of tourist season on an island that survives on tourism. Again, the problem would be the "consensus" part.
Re: Chaos Erupts at Consultation Meeting San Pedro - 01/19/1111:07 PM
The laws in Belize are not the same as your US laws regarding the power of a township. here the town cannot sell off property that is in default on taxes...but must first sue in the courts just as any other citizen. They have limited power to force payment of taxes.
Re: Chaos Erupts at Consultation Meeting San Pedro - 01/19/1111:10 PM
I still see that withholding any kind of taxes is a knee jerk idea. The collected taxes don't go to the Town Board directly anyway, do they? If they don't how long would it take for the Town Board to "feel" it?
Re: Chaos Erupts at Consultation Meeting San Pedro - 01/19/1111:51 PM
Please see SFJeff post: "...not talking about prop tax, but hotel tax, business tax, etc". We are arguing the same side of an argument! Withholding any kind of tax is an idle threat. Withholding property tax can backfire and affect the withholdee? Whether it takes time for due process through the courts or whatever! Witholding other taxes that go to the GOB, won't threaten the Town Board. Does that explain it?
Re: Chaos Erupts at Consultation Meeting San Pedro - 01/20/1112:08 AM
The thread of it is just what I said above! The example I gave was of withholding taxes backfiring! By the way, it was done through due process! Jesse, let's stop boring these nice people with your inability to follow the gist of this argument! I know I'm bored with it!
Re: Chaos Erupts at Consultation Meeting San Pedro - 01/20/1112:20 AM
You must be a citizen or hold a Caricom passport and be in Belize at least 6 mths before general elections to vote, but any resident can vote for town board or mayor. You do not need citizenship to vote for town board and mayor.
Re: Chaos Erupts at Consultation Meeting San Pedro - 01/20/1112:24 AM
Originally Posted by jesse
Very few voters inhabit this message board so it has limited ability to effect any change
Actually there are many people who read and monitor this board that never make a post. I on occasion forward certain threads to town councilors. In case you have not noticed our local government and rep seem to favor whoever waves the $FLAG$. Usually foreign investors.
This board is more powerful than you might imagine. It is constantly scanned by google and controversial writings on this board can be found top of first page on google search very shortly after posting on this board. I think all the boards are monitored by individuals as well.
Yes you can vote with your chk books when election time comes. Funding is necessary to get the votes to make the change. It also takes money to challenge some of these actions in court. It is in everyones common good to fight these things. As a group our non voters are far wealthier than our voters and should not be afraid to use that muscle. It kind of levels the playing field somewhat.
There are many here with a vested interest that don't have the right to vote but should still be heard. They have more clout than they think.
Re: Chaos Erupts at Consultation Meeting San Pedro - 01/20/1112:54 AM
Katie, As you know when you go to vote for Town Board or Mayor the process is just the same as a general election with you showing your Registration card and all parties checking it off the list of registered voters then you ink up and are given your ballot. How does that process work if you dont have a Registration card? Of course you must satisfy the residency and nationality issues before being issued a card. I am sure many would like to know how a permanent resident foreign national, not Commonwealth or Caricom citizen, can register and vote in Town Council or Village elections. Everyone that is eligible should register and vote. Thanks
Re: Chaos Erupts at Consultation Meeting San Pedro - 01/20/1102:16 PM
You'ld be surprised Seashell! Find all the prongs you want to for as many ways to draw attention to the situation. But, Mike is correct. Many people of influence and with power watch the message boards. I know a Council member, and we have discussed what is written here in the past. So, he obviously reads it. Also, as ugly as it sounds, getting in faces, and not letting up, has an effect in this country. The one who yells loudest and longest can sometimes get through. Eventully, that's how some things got done when I built my house. It wasn't necessarily nice.
Re: Chaos Erupts at Consultation Meeting San Pedro - 01/20/1104:29 PM
The written word also has advantages as a clear logical position can be developed. Protests are great for calling attention to problems but usually dont deal with specific remedies that are necessary. It is not enough to be against something. Dialog gives birth to ideas. The scope of the message boards is tremendous. For example on one of the Belize boards the discussion about off shore drilling had over 2 million views. It is about the only way to share information and develop ideas with a large group of people.
Re: Chaos Erupts at Consultation Meeting San Pedro - 01/20/1108:58 PM
Everything I publish comes from those "TV stations that have real interviews and opinions expressed to Belizeans, not a bunch of ex pats and tourists"...so why doesn't government attack me too?...if they attack anyone. I know all the journalists in Belize and never hear of any interference.
Re: Chaos Erupts at Consultation Meeting San Pedro - 02/01/1111:26 AM
Channel 5 was NOT about content. Yikes! It is always about ownership and power to hurt the purse. Political payoff or get even. Always has been here. Look this is a UDP vs PUP typical scenario. UDP will gut our country and pocket the money.Well, for once you got it right. A loud boisterous demo oft repeated at public meetings and handbills passed out to EVERYBODY and POSTED everywhere will get attention. When you see ANY elected pol..let em know how you feel..and pass out handbills everywhere including the media. Then organize loud and show solidarity with the fishermen...save the mangrove..save our island..save the tarpon...mangrove is the nursery for our marine life....give it to the kids to ask their parents. I recall when Chico was elected mayor because he organized the locals to stop attempts to block access to the beaches.Simple really.One fight at a time,pick your battle and ally with a local group.