Our Community - Baldemar Graniel -"A Live Wire in San Pedro"

The Island Newspaper, Ambergris Caye, Belize            Vol. 10, No. 14            April 6, 2000

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Baldemar Graniel

The growth and proper development of almost anything can be achieved only if the responsibility with whom it lies is with that of a genuine leader. Probably the best description of a leader is a service-minded person who serves their community without personal gain; who is efficient and promotes high ethical standards. This week we feature a true leader in our town - Mr. Baldemar "Baldi" Graniel, JP.

    Born in San Pedro to Marina and Rosendo Graniel on April 12th, 1950, Baldemar grew up with six sisters and four brothers. Being raised during the 50s was special for him; the fun memories are still vivid in his mind. He attended primary school only, since the island did not have a high school at the time. Baldemar says he would have liked to continue his education but, because of financial restraints, this was not possible. Like most young men of that time, he started working with his father and brothers fishing in the neighboring areas of San Pedro. Shortly after, he graduated to the next stage of his trade - the ten to twelve days at-sea fishing expeditions. Baldemar fished for lobster, conch and fish on these long trips for a period of twenty years. Even though this job was a tough one, upon his return to San Pedro after every trip, he would spend his free time learning new trades and doing different tasks or as he calls them, "experiences of life". This was how he became a self-taught plumber and electrician. 

    At the young age of 21, he married Maria Tzul and together they have four children, three grandchildren and another one on the way.

    Word of Baldemar's plumbing and electrical skills earned him a temporary job as supervisor for the Water and Sewage Authority (WASA) and eventually he was hired permanently. Mr. Graniel's position encompassed doing almost everything himself. He jokingly said, "I was my own boss and supervisor of the only other person who worked at the office." After dedicating nine long years to WASA, he decided to become a self-employed plumber and electrician.

    Probably one of Baldi's greatest assets has been, and still is, his leadership and organizational skills. He has been instrumental in founding and actively participating in many of the town's groups and committees. He was a founder and one of the first members of San Pedro's volunteer fire service. Fires in San Pedro were, thankfully, not a frequent occurrence then, but Baldi and the others were always ready with a disposable fire pump they had to wheel along the sandy streets. During the flourishing years of Caribeña Cooperative, he served as Vice-President for eight years. No task was too hard for him. Baldemar and his brother served as the first water taxi service in San Pedro. He says this started many years ago, during a time when the fishing cooperative was ready to export marine goods. Customs officers from Belize City would come over to supervise this process and by the end of the day (or sometimes night) had to be transported back to the city. His brother owned a small skiff and they would be responsible for transporting these officers, regardless of rough weather. They even served as a sea ambulance on numerous occasions.

    More visible today has been his tireless participation and contributions in the San Pedro Lions Club. Although not a Chartered Member of the Club, because of the strict Lions rules observed at the time, Baldemar has been with the group since its formation, 24 years ago. Since then, he has held various positions in the Club serving as President for two terms and as District Governor. He presently sits on the Board of Directors and is the Clinic Committee Chairman. Mr. Graniel has also served as an advisor for the Leo Club during its existence. In 1984, he was appointed Justice of the Peace and in 1991 as a Commissioner of the Supreme Court. Presently he is the President of the San Pedro Justices of the Peace Association and a Commissioner of the Supreme Court.

    Always searching for new ways to help the residents of San Pedro, Baldemar entered the political arena. He has served as Mayor for San Pedro during the years 1992-1994 and has recently been appointed Deputy Mayor for the years 2000-2003.

     Baldemar Graniel has been an active member of this town working for progress and the well-being of its residents. Whether it is installing plumbing at the Lions Den, electrical work at the library or dancing comparsas, Baldi is a wonderful example of excellent leadership in "Our Community."

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