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The Island Newspaper, Ambergris Caye, Belize            Vol. 12, No. 25            July 4, 2002

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Privatize the ferry

    As the controversy over the proposed Boca del Rio bridge continues we might consider the old adage, "If it's not broke, don't fix it." The current ferry is a most reasonable solution to crossing the river as it self limits the size and number of vehicles while serving as a security checkpoint for the residents north of the river. (If you don't go north with a 19" Sony you probably shouldn't be coming back with one.)

    However, if the ferry is "becoming a burden on the (town) council" they might once again consider privatizing the service.

    I am certain that some enterprising individual would happily undertake the operation paying the town a monthly fee while guaranteeing an 18-hour per day schedule with fares not to exceed those currently established.

    I would be very surprised if the ferry does not gross $15,000 monthly. If the council is incurring "financial losses due to employee problems, vandalism, the cost of maintaining the access sites (not that they do this) and the cost of damages incurred during use" (whatever that means), they should get out of the business.

    Reconstruction of the access ramps and improvements to the method of operation could be negotiated between the private operator and the council and the costs reflected in the long-term lease agreement.

    Nine years ago I built the original ferry and ramps for my personal convenience but it soon became public when an employee volunteered to pull people and carts across for a fee, which he kept. I made no money from the operation nor did I spend any apart from the original construction and occasional maintenance. 

    It was not a burden.

/s/ Bob Kjorlien

Tres Cocos

Crocodile Sense

    A couple of days ago while driving past the WASA pond on my way home, I noticed that one of the crocodiles was out of the pond onto the roadside. He was not completely out of the pond. To my surprise and outrage, there was a group of tourists standing around the crocodile and feeding it raw chicken. To my even greater surprise, there were a number of locals just watching this happen. I told the tourists to please stop feeding the animal because that is why he is coming out of the pond. I proceeded to tell them that feeding the crocodile is not only dangerous for them (the tourists) but also dangerous for all of us living on this side of the island, not to mention our children.

    I will never understand how people can think or even call feeding these wild animals a recreational activity. Can you imagine what would happen if one day that beast is out on the road and some kid riding or walking from school decides to try and feed it because that is what he/she has seen others do? This practice has gone on for a long time and as a result the crocodiles no longer fear us humans and have come to regard us as a source of food.

    THINK PEOPLE! This is our home and we are allowing people to endanger not only ourselves but also the lives of our children. Many kids walk by that pond to go to school and back home. Granted the crocodiles have become a tourist attraction, but we must respect that they are wild and cannot be tamed or domesticated and are not a circus act.  The WASA pond is not Sea World. 

    I have informed the Belize Rural South Office previously and was told that they are aware of the problem and were in the process of putting up signs warning people not to feed the crocodiles. That was months ago. So I am asking the people of San Pedro to please stop feeding the crocodiles.


/s/ Melanie Greif

San Pedro Town
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