Our Community - Genaro Nuñez - "Tail-er made for success in San Pedro"

The Island Newspaper, Ambergris Caye, Belize            Vol. 11, No. 47            November 29, 2001

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Genaro Nuñez

San Pedro has flourished from a humble fishing village into the most visited vacation destination in Belize. Much credit must be given to our forefathers who have passed on their strong will and desire to succeed. The lifestyle of those days gone by was peaceful but not an easy one. It took our predecessors a lot of patience and determination to make San Pedro what it is today. This week the San Pedro Sun honors one of the men who, along with other hardworking San Pedranos of his time, managed to bring prosperity to this island - Mr. Genaro Nuñez.

    Born on September 19th, 1930 to Regina Guerrero and Cruz Nuñez, Genaro was raised in the quaint village of San Pedro with eight brothers and one sister. In those days, the village had no school so it was customary for the children to go to work to help out their families. As a young boy Genaro would go net fishing, sell firewood, collect and husk coconuts, and even clear lots for the low price of 75 per lot, to earn money. When he was nine years old, the first school opened and Genaro enrolled. When he turned thirteen though, Genaro quit school and once again went to work, this time for himself.

    At that time, Genaro was the proud owner of five lobster traps (nasas), which he placed at French Caye (Cayo Frances), an area where lobster was abundant. "The lobster harvest in those days was overwhelming. With my five traps I would manage to capture over 230 lobsters a day. Those were the good old days," commented Mr. Nuñez. From the profits Genaro made selling lobster, he was able to increase his number of traps, in a relatively short time, to 300. Of course owning more traps increased production and in turn, increased his profits. Mr. Nuñez clearly recalls the days when lobster buyers would come to San Pedro to purchase these crustaceans for a meager 5 per pound. As the demand for lobster increased, so did the benefits to local fishermen as the selling price rose from 25 to 45, and then 75 and so forth.

    In March of 1963, Caribeña Producers Cooperative was formed in San Pedro, bringing unification to the local fisherman. Genaro joined the fishing cooperative as an active member and soon after served as treasurer. Fishing became Mr. Genaro's livelihood for the next 57 years until he was forced to retire at the age of 70 due to medical reasons.

    At the age of 19, Genaro married Alice Gomez (deceased) on December 3rd, 1949. Their union produced five children: Emerita (Graniel), Ilva (Castillo), Alice (Ochaeta), Diana (Halliday) and Chris Nuñez.

    With the savings from his fishing expeditions, Don Genaro managed to open a general store below his home. He recalls the store was very small with ceilings so low that the customers had to duck to get inside. He called his business "Alice Store" in honor of his wife. At first, Alice Store would only carry the basic home necessities like sugar and flour, and some treats such as chewing gum and lemonade. Over time, Mr. Nuñez expanded the store to accommodate his customer's needs. Additionally, Mr. Genaro invested his savings into two apartment buildings which he says, "helps him today with his daily expenses."

    In the early 90s, Mr. Genaro Nuñez was named a Justice of the Peace for his good faith towards the community and his fellow man. Commenting on the future of San Pedro Mr. Nuñez stated, "The lobster and tourism industry have played a major role in San Pedro. We must be very careful to protect both of these industries so that future generations may also reap the benefits and enjoy the wonderful life that San Pedro has to offer."

    Mr. Genaro Nuñez has sacrificed and worked hard to be where he is today. He knows the true meaning of the labor and dedication needed to obtain success. Now a semi-retired resident, Mr. Genaro Nuñez is a fine example of the people that have "thrown their nets" and were able to "fish out" the opportunities that exist in "Our Community."

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