Our Community - Ovidio Guerrero - "Cool and Content in San Pedro"

The Island Newspaper, Ambergris Caye, Belize            Vol. 10, No. 23            June 8, 2000

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Ovidio Guerrero

Today one of the country's biggest promoters is the Belize Tourism Board (BTB). This organization's motto is "tourism means business." In a place like San Pedro all businesses directly and indirectly affect this industry so all businesspeople should carefully monitor their establishments to ensure they render only the best service. This week we are pleased to introduce a businessman in San Pedro who has combined both his business and personal skills to aid in the evolution of this wonderful destination - Mr. Ovidio Guerrero.

    Ovidio was born in San Pedro to Olivia and Dimas Guerrero on Christmas Day of 1937. Being the eldest in a family of three sisters and four brothers, Ovidio learned the true meaning of responsibility at a very young age. In school, he proved to be an excellent student, one of only three locals who sat the entrance exam in Belize City that year and passed. For this achievement he was granted a partial scholarship to attend St. John's College in Belize City. Unfortunately, he could not financially support his studies and had to leave after only a couple of months. At the age of thirteen, he joined his father on fishing expeditions and working together, they alleviated the financial burdens of the Guerrero home.

    Ovidio continued to fish with his father and friends for many years. With time came progress and new opportunities for the locals. Ovidio and two of his close friends, Jose Gonzalez and Gaby Perez, became skin diving pioneers in San Pedro. He and his friends learned about skin diving after two "gringos" from Miami came to San Pedro to dive. After coming back from a day at sea, Ovidio and his friends saw the large fish these visitors had hunted with their spears. Ovidio, being a very observant young man and always willing to learn, immediately studied the apparatus carefully and went home to manufacture his own. The team then headed on to their first skin diving expedition, a little scared at first but the fright vanishing with the rewards this new device supplied them. Eventually other youngsters adapted this new system and when he decided to open a bar, he named it Skin Diver's Club.

    On February 24th, 1965 Ovidio married Elia Aguilar and together they have raised five children; Ena, Martha, Miguel, Luis and Anel. Ovidio built his home on the same property where Skin Diver's Club was located. He then branched out and opened a general store with his wife, naming it Martha's Store. The store required much of his time so he hired someone else to take care of the bar and put more emphasis on the store business. Elia and Ovidio took good care of their customers, resulting in profits that eventually earned them enough to add a second storey to their building. Seeing the need for accommodations on the island, they developed this addition into Martha's Hotel, consisting of three rooms and two apartments. As more stores were added to the community, the Guerreros decided to reduce the size of Martha's Store and expand Martha's Hotel. Adding a third floor, Martha's Hotel today consists of twelve rooms. The second floor also houses the office and the now smaller version of Martha's Store.

    Having an eye for business, Mr. Guerrero saw a new market opening for an ice business in San Pedro. With the advice and support of his family, he started Martha's Ice Factory. For the past four years Martha's Ice has offered purified water by the bottle or gallon and uses the same water system for their ice, available by the bag or cooler.

    In addition to being a businessman, Ovidio was and is an admirable leader. Over the years he has served: as a committee member for the Caribeña Cooperative; as a Village Council Member instrumental in gaining San Pedro's town status; as a councilor on the first ever San Pedro Town Board; as a member of the advisory committee of San Pedro High School and as a charter member of the San Pedro Lions Club. Ovidio, also a talented musician, has entertained on many occasions playing the accordion with the band Conjunto Sargasso. Just recently, Mr. Guerrero and other musicians of that band were reunited for a special performance to celebrate the year 2000. Ovidio was an active sportsman and a professional when playing basketball and American Baseball.

    Mr. Ovidio Guerrero has aided his community to the best of his abilities and has set good standards for his family. He is known as a true entrepreneur and a loyal friend. Whether it was through Martha's Store and Hotel or most recently his Ice Factory, Mr. Guerrero is definitely a "cool" personality in "Our Community."

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