Dredging a Canal in Belize City, 1930's
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October 23, 2021

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Dredging a Canal in Belize City, 1930's

If this is the 1930's then the Governor was John Adler Burdon. He built the Burdon Canal. He must have loved canals or saw the need for them. The Burdon Canal was used to transport produce from the South to the City. The Belize City Canal was used to transport a product of a different kind. The Belize City Canal hosted the Slack pan parade...

Governor Burdon Created a man made canal between two main rivers in a time when travel through the interior was by river not highways. It was used to transport produce to the city from the south without farmers having to risk travel in open waters. He was a well travelled man who took advantage of his time here to travel the country and do a lot of research on Belize before writing “A Brief Sketch of British Honduras, Past, Present and Future” in 1927.

I remember the stench from the canals. They were lined with latrines too. I can still smell it in my mind.

I remember when I was a kid my mom had a walk on part in a movie with James Earl Jones that was being filmed in the area of all the canals and I was there watching. I ended up getting sick because of how much it stunk. Mr. Jones was not there yet. I think the movie was called The Caye. Lesley Sullivan

Most people in Belize got used to the smell and sight. It can smell bad when the weather is Hot and no wind blowing. I was unfortunate to fall in the canal almost drown when i was a kid . My Mom gave me a dozen baths and a Ass whipping. This was in the early 60s so You know a lot of shit was flooting in the kennel. Gerald Straughan

Slack was the Commander of the Belize Defence Force under Governor Collet around 1914-1917 . He was an extreme racist and hated in the colony. He was eventually murdered. Perhaps this is why the slop pans were called slack pans? There is a Creole expression that say people are "sleck" meaning that they are dirty. Maybe it derived from that name. I always thought the name of the bucket was a slop as in slop bucket. Sleck is derived from slack. But I never heard of it being called sleck pan either, just slop buckets. Even today we refer to a basin looking thing in our utility room as a slop basin. It is here you would wash your tennis rinse your mop or throw away your dirty mop water etc. I could see people using the word slack or slack as well now that I know the origins of the word.

Photograph courtesy Gerald Straughan

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