Construction of Columbus Park by the San Ignacio Police Station in 1961
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Thursday October 12, 2017

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District Commissioner office & Police Station, Cayo 1951. Photo courtesy Belize Abroad.

San Ignacio Police Station, Cayo 2021, perched above the bridge. Photo courtesy George Villanueva.
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Construction of Columbus Park by the San Ignacio Police Station in 1961

That round-about/park served 6 lanes including the historical Hawksworth Bridge. Bridge, old market street, Burns Avenue, the street that passes in front of the old town council, Benque Viejo Road and the street beside the police station that leads to San Ignacio hotel and on to Benque Viejo road. San Ignacio had the first round about.


This was when I almost went to prison, for constructing this park in CROWN LANDS. In April of 1960, after the Cross Country Bicycle Race, some Citizens suggested to me that a Park or COMFORT STATION, would be nice t that spot for the many visitors. LIkewise, for residents to sit under a shade and Bus passengers to shelter.

THIS WAS in 1960, when I, Hector David Silva, the Mayor of the Twin Towns of San Ignacio and Santa Elena, decided, with the support of my Council Members, TO BUILD A PARK in front of the Cayo District, Administration Building. I made two attempts in 1960 to start this project, but on both occasions I was threatened with arrest.

So, I decided to beg for money from the business people. The response was great. So I asked my friend Escandar Bedran to make me a design. He did and I got the approval of my Town Board. ( I was the Mayor. ) I Got my Town Foreman to clean the place, and begin the project. Great enthusiasm by the Cayoans.

Suddenly I heard a clapping, by District Commissioner Howel Longsworth Sr. asking me to come to his Office on that building there. I went up as per usual to be told that I cannot build anything on CROWN LAND. I inquired why. - I immediately found out that the NIP Leaders had made objection. WELL being young in Politics, I abided with the Official Order.

ON the second trial I made, six months later, the Colonial Secretary, an Englishman, Mr Fann, drove up to San Ignacio and told me that if I tried a third time, I would be arrested and charged for trespassing in CROWN LANDS. - This was still 1960.

BUT ON March 2nd, 1961 the PUP won all 18 Constituencies, and we formed the Government.

I IMMEDIATELY WENT DOWN TO PREMIER GEORGE PRICE, and asked him to get me the approval. He called Hon Sandy Hunter and approval was granted. I then went to Hon. Albert Cattouse and asked him, to facilitate me with the biggest PWD, BULLDOZER, ( A SUPER EIGHT CATERPILLAR. ) I invited the whole town to the site and I raked the entire hill in front of the Police Station, and we built the Columbus Park.( I am some where in this foto.) On October 12th, 1961, we invited Premier George Price to inaugurate the Columbus Park WITH ALL POMP and CELEBRATIONS.

( I was vindicated. ) for history's sake.

Photograph courtesy Elma Popper, Text by Hector Silva

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