Mary Forman and her dad Arden Forman, about 1967
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Monday December 28, 2020

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Bannister Caye

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Mary Forman and her dad Arden Forman, about 1967

Here is the story of how Arden and Bert Forman acquired Spanish Lookout (now known as Forman's Caye) and Bannister Caye.

Information from Mary Forman Eleanor, the eldest daughter of Arden Forman.

1. Spanish Lookout Caye now known as (Formansí Caye) belonged to Arden W. Forman.

2. Bert Forman owned Bannister Caye which was left of Spanish Lookout (Formansí caye) in the mangrove.

3. Arden Forman was one of the FIRST Tourist Guide through Fort George Hotel now named Radisson Hotel.

4. Bert Forman was the FIRST in the Lobster Business and was a member of the Lobsters Union which he came in first for most of the years he was alive.

How did the Forman brothers (Arden and Bert Forman) acquire these cayes?

Enid L. Forman, wife of Arden W. Forman heard while listening to the Belize noontime news that they were about to start giving away cayes. She called Bert Formanís wife, Teresita Forman, and told her about what she just heard and encouraged her to go with her and put both their husband's names in. Enid told Teresita, ďLetís surprise the boys and go down to wherever they had to go and enter their names in the pool of interested persons.Ē Enid Forman added Arden Formanís name to the pool of interested persons. She soon realized that her sister in law Teresita Forman did not show up. Enid took a cab to York Street to go get Teresita Forman. Teresita said she didnít want to go as it was a waste of time. Enid convinced her and they left together to add Bert Formanís name to the pool of interested persons.

After a few weeks they mentioned that the names of the winners would be announced. My dad, Arden Formanís name was called as the owner of Spanish Lookout Caye now called Formansí Caye. After a few more names were called, then Bert Formansí name was called for Bannister Caye.

Donít know the reaction of my uncle Bert, but when my dad, Arden Forman, got home and mom told him what had happened, dad was shock and did not believe. Mom finally convinced him and a few weeks later they were issued papers for Spanish LookOut Caye. Spanish Lookout caye was just a small island of bush approximately 8 miles from Belize City, 2 miles from the Barrier Reef. He had to pay to have several dredges clear it out. He then had it filled with rocks and sand. It didnít happen overnight; after everything was done Arden built his first house on the right hand side of the Caye.

Bert Formansí Caye, Bannister, was in the mangrove on the left side of Spanish Look Out Caye. Due to his location in the mangrove, it took a while to clear out. Afterwards Bert Forman built a house on his caye and started to build his lobster traps. Bert the younger brother of Arden, told Arden that he was scared to bring his children on the caye for holidays. Bert mentioned that he had seen large alligators going back and forth on the caye and was scared that his children would be eaten by these huge monsters. Bert then asked Arden if he could put up a house on Spanish Lookout Caye. Of course, being the kindest of the Forman clan, Arden said yes. Bert then put up a house in the center of the Caye and then a second smaller house for his workers.

After a few years Arden built another house in the front of the caye for his best friend, the Manager of Fort George Hotel.

Bert was able to build his lobster traps on Spanish Lookout caye and each holiday both families would enjoy Spanish Lookout Caye together. Bert Forman eventually SOLD Bannister Caye and now it is a huge amusement sea Park.

As the years went on, Ardenís children immigrated to the United States. They encouraged him to retire and come live in California with them. Arden gave his kids a hard time as he said the only way he will leave Belize is if he could live on the beach. Little did he know the family had connections with Anne Leslie and Robbie, Managers of an apartment building at #1 Venice Blvd in Venice, California. Apartment was rented and furnished when they came to visit for the summer. Both Arden and Enid Forman were shocked about their completely furnished apartment which was located on Venice Beach. (The apartment was completely furnished by their children).

After their first summer, Arden and Enid returned to Belize to take care of their properties, including the boats and the caye. Arden told his brother Bert that if he wanted Spanish Lookout he would sign over the papers seeing he was now a resident of the USA and would only be visiting Belize a few times a year. Bert agreed. Papers were drafted up and Arden signed over Spanish Lookout with the clear intention that when him or his children were in Belize they could frequent and enjoy the caye. Arden explained that none of his sons were interested in maintaining the caye as all lived in California and had no plans to return to Belize. They each had several boats and would go fishing in Mexico which they thoroughly enjoyed.

Photographs courtesy The Belize City House of Culture and Downtown Rejuvenation Project

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