New San Pedro Commercial Marina inaugurated

The Island Newspaper, Ambergris Caye, Belize            Vol. 13, No. 41            November 6, 2003

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Prime Minister Said Musa addresses gathering at new marina

The Prime Minister of Belize, Hon. Said Musa along with Minister of Works, Transport and Communications, Hon. Vildo Marin visited Ambergris Caye last Friday for the official inauguration of the San Pedro Commercial Marina.

    Former Area Representative Patty Arceo welcomed more than a hundred invited guests, stating how proud she was that government had fulfilled its promise to the people of San Pedro. She continued with praise for former Mayor Alberto Nuñez and his town councillors for their hard work initiating and implementing the project and finally, being present to dedicate this landmark development.

    Hon. Vildo Marin was the next to address the crowd, acknowledging San Pedro as the "heart of tourism" in Belize. He recalled the devastating effects of Hurricane Keith and assured those present that the new commercial marina was designed to resist hurricane and earthquake forces, and could accommodate more than six barges at a time. Minister Marin added that the road leading to the pier was a project in itself. He explained that because the marina was constructed on swampy land, the road was specially constructed to withstand heavy loads and the equipment needed to transport cargo from the barges.

    Prime Minister Musa then expressed his delight at how both past and present government leaders in San Pedro Town have worked together "as one," to achieve this major goal in the development of the island's infrastructure. The PM then admitted that there was still much more to do, referring to his muddy ride through the almost impassable streets of the DFC housing area. He then reassured residents that "the longest journey begins with the first step," and stated everyone will benefit as long as San Pedro pioneers continue to show others how tourism can work.

    Businessman and former Mayor of San Pedro, Pedro Salazar Sr. wrapped up the ceremony by giving thanks for the vision of local leaders from days gone by, who were responsible for the initial purchase of the land where the marina was built. He also praised government for putting the land "to good use."

    A government press release stated that the pier is comprised of steel sheet piling, reinforced with concrete capping, complete with seven anchorage bollards for vessels on edge fenders. The hardstand (surface) is paved to provide best control and to extend its life.

    The release also explained the extra measures that were taken to reduce settlement of the marina road. Reportedly, the builders used "geo-textile" material in the road works as well as cement stabilization and gabion baskets. More than a mile of channel (a minimum of 100 feet wide) was dredged to allow barges to safely cross the shallow areas of water approaching the wharf.

    According to the report, the San Pedro Commercial Marina was fully financed by the Government of Belize (GOB) at a cost of approximately 3.5 million Belize dollars. Johnson International constructed the San Pedro Municipal Pier, considered Phase I of the project. Future phases of the development will evolve with the construction of warehouses and outdoor storage spaces.

    Following the inauguration ceremony, The San Pedro Sun questioned Belize Ports Commissioner Andy Suddes as to when the new pier would be fully operational. Mr. Suddes explained that bids were currently being requested to install the appropriate lighting and other equipment needed to allow 24-hour usage at this facility. He added that this part of the project should be completed by the end of November. The Ports Commissioner was scheduled to meet with the project manager in Belmopan on Tuesday to discuss further developments with the project. This information will be provided as soon as it becomes available.   

    Also attending the long-awaited dedication were Chief Executive Officer in the Ministry of Home Affairs Alan Usher, Minister of State in the Ministry of Works Dave Burgos, Belize Rural South Area Representative Manuel Heredia Jr., SP Town Mayoress Elsa Paz, Past SP Mayor Alberto Nuñez, former Minister of Works Fred Hunter, members of the SP Town Council (past and present), as well as other distinguished guests representing Belize, Taiwan and Guatemala.
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