SPTC and Area Representative meet with Prime Minister

The Island Newspaper, Ambergris Caye, Belize            Vol. 14, No. 40            November 18, 2004

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Prime Minister Said Musa listens to concerns presented to him by a delegation from "La Isla Bonita" on Monday. The delegation included Area Representative Manuel Heredia Jr., Mayor Elsa Paz, Deputy Mayor Severo Guerrero, Councilors "Nano" Guerrero and Joseph Elijio, along with Public Relations Officer Felix Ayuso.
The San Pedro Delegation also shared concerns about the town cemetery that has no more room.

On November 15th, 2004, Area Representative for Belize Rural South Manuel Heredia Jr., Mayor Elsa Paz, Deputy Mayor Severo Guerrero, Councilors "Nano" Guerrero and Joseph Elijio, along with Public Relations Officer Felix Ayuso met with Prime Minister of Belize Honorable Said Musa to discuss key issues affecting "La Isla Bonita." Among the points presented to him were the cobblestone street project, the marina, and the cemetery.

    The first issue tackled was the street cobblestone project. Prime Minister Musa told the delegation that the Government of Belize will secure an overdraft for the San Pedro Town Council (SPTC). This will allow SPTC to move forward with the project. It was mentioned to the Prime Minister that the money for this project had been budgeted and approved by the National Assembly. To this Honorable Said Musa replied, "You know our financial situation. The money just isn't there." In order to have the project completed, SPTC will request a loan to complete the next phase of the street-paving project. Representative Heredia predicted the Pescador phase would take three months to complete.

    The next topic discussed was the status of the industrial marina on the southwest corner of Ambergris Caye. The Industrial Marina was a project overseen by the Ministry of Works but after its inauguration, the local barge owners found out that the channel was too shallow to unload their barges. With the upcoming tourism season, SPTC is hoping that this situation is remedied soon, so that the "eyesore" caused by the barges on the "heart of San Pedro" is eliminated. Honorable Manuel Heredia explained to the Prime Minister the different problems barge owners face when attempting to enter the lagoon. It has been confirmed that the lagoon is too shallow for large barges to get through. He went on to state that about 600 feet of bedrock must be channeled to make the lagoon deeper in order for large vessels to enter. Representative Manuel Heredia made mention of a large ocean excavator traveling through Belizean waters on its way to Alaska. "This machine could do the work in about three days," he told the Prime Minister. Prime Minister Musa asked the Representative to pursue this option and to inform the Port Authority on his progress.

    The next item on the agenda was the Ambergris Caye cemetery. The delegation explained that there is no room left in the current cemetery. SPTC is presently looking at land, which could be used as a cemetery. One such land is located on the Southern end of the island, and SPTC is negotiating with the owner of the property. Honorable Said Musa suggested that Government of Belize land from the northern end of the island could be exchanged for the desired land in the south. Representative Heredia said he would discuss this with the owner of the property.

    After the meeting, The San Pedro Sun interviewed Mayor Paz and she stated that at this point, the SPTC's main priority is Pescador Drive. "Once we get this street finished, the four streets in town should be no problem," said Mayor Paz. Pescador Street has long been a problem, especially during the rainy season. Traffic and pedestrians are forced to use this street when traveling between the airstrip area and to the north. "It was a good meeting, it is a start," reflected Mayor Paz. Belize Rural South Area Representative Manuel Heredia agreed. "This is not one-hundred percent done, but we can now move forward and explore options."

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