San Pedro appeals for street repair funds

The Island Newspaper, Ambergris Caye, Belize            Vol. 13, No. 45            December 4, 2003

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It would appear at least one of the streets in San Pedro Town may soon be seeing some cobblestones. An appeal has been received by Minister Ralph Fonseca from island representatives to release the funds budgeted to cobblestone San Pedro Town streets and the minister has responded accordingly.

    Information received and printed in the February 6th, 2003 edition of The San Pedro Sun, reported that this was a promise made by the Government of Belize to upgrade streets in San Pedro Town for the next two years (2003-4 and 2004-5).

    Since that time, the opposition United Democratic Party won six of the seven elected seats on the San Pedro Town Council, and therefore was having an extremely difficult time receiving these budgeted funds from a People's United Party central government. To facilitate the disbursement of these budgeted funds, Ms. Nadia Tarrico of Mata Chica Resort on North Ambergris Caye appealed to Minister of Finance and Home Affairs, Ralph Fonseca on behalf of island businesses.

    On November 10th, a reply was sent from the Ministry of Finance and Home Affairs, signed by Minister Ralph Fonseca, to Ms. Nadia Tarrico. It stated:

        We thank you for investing in Belize and for your continued commitment to civic duty. The project to beautify and clean up San Pedro Town, Ambergris Caye is indeed a worthwhile one. We agree that for consensus, transparency, accountability and efficiency, the idea of a "San Pedro Citizens Committee" is the best road forward. The Committee should be comprised of private sector representation, Area Representative for Belize Rural South, Town Council representative, the Opposition Candidate for the area and NEMO.

        This would facilitate the Government of Belize/Ministry of Finance consideration to grant capital input funding for projects like the continuation of the "cobblestone street" and ensure that ownership is by real consensus. Once such a group has been formulated via resolution, the Government and Ministry could be petitioned for the necessary assistance.

        Once again, we thank you for your continued interest in the development of the community in which you live and have invested.

    The letter was carbon copied to Mr. Hugh McSweaney - Financial Secretary, Mr. Roy Cayetano, Chief Executive Officer in the Ministry of Local Government, Hon. Manuel Heredia Jr., Area Representative for Belize Rural South, Elsa Paz, Mayoress of San Pedro, Patricia Arceo - PUP Representative for Belize Rural South, and Jim Janmohamed - NEMO Representative.

    On Wednesday, November 26th, a meeting was held which was comprised of the committee members suggested above plus Past Mayor Alberto NuŅez Sr. and President Tom Vidrine of the Ambergris Caye Chamber of Commerce. A letter of petition was drafted as requested by the minister and it stated the following:

        With the rapid growth in population and volume of traffic, our roads in San Pedro have now deteriorated beyond our ability to maintain them with available materials. We represent a cross-section of our population, and have joined together to ask for your help.

        As community leaders in civic, political, and business organizations, we request your consideration in releasing the funds that were previously allocated towards the paving of Pescador Drive (Middle Street).

        The committee has chosen James Janmohamed of NEMO as our Chairman and includes the following individuals and their signatures below.

        Please give our request your utmost serious consideration.

    The letter was respectfully signed by Committee Chairman James Janmohamed, Belize Rural South Area Representative Manuel Heredia Jr., San Pedro Town Mayor Elsa Paz, Past Area Representative and PUP Representative Patty Arceo, and Past Mayor Alberto Nunez. Signing on behalf of the private sector of San Pedro Town was, President of the Ambergris Caye Chamber of Commerce Tom L. Vidrine and Representative of the Hotel Business Community, Nadia Taricco.
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