A very active San Pedro Chapter of the Belize Tourism Industry Association (BTIA) sent out a number of letters regarding community concerns this week. Subjects ranging from stray animals to housing were covered in the letters. The San Pedro Sun received a copy of the letter regarding the new areas of San Pedro. The area west of the airport is developing rapidly, although no services are yet provided - no electricity, no sewer, no water. Most of the lots have been minimally filled, but that is not yet complete. Many of the homes under construction received permits to build despite high water levels and the lack of services. The curerent Town Board is filling the open ditchs with vegetable matter from the Escalante project. The ditches will then be covered with sand. Construction is already going on in the new area of 228 lots north of the river. Many of these lots are underwater and can only be reached by boat. No infrastructure is available in that area either and it may be years before services are available.
Here is the April 17th letter sent by the BTIA:
The Honorable Alberto Nuñez San Pedro Town Board
On behalf of the Ambergris Caye Chapter of the Belize Tourism Industry Association (B.T.I.A.), we would like to express our thanks to you for meeting with our board. We hope that the meeting is just the beginning of a long and productive relationship between the San Pedro Town Board and the Ambergris Caye Chapter of the B.T.I.A.
As we discussed at the meeting, a major obstacle to the continued development of the tourism industry on Ambergris is the condition of the back lots and landfill in Boca Del Rio, San Juan, and the area west of the runway. The lack of proper sewage and waste disposal creates a perfect breeding ground for cholera, dysentery, hepatitis, and other infectious diseases.
We are asking your help in establishing codes and guidelines to improve the overall living conditions in those areas. Once proper guidelines are in place, immediate action must be taken to insure that the codes are strictly enforced. We are greatly concerned that unless immediate action is taken, an epidemic of one of the above diseases could occur thereby seriously threatening tourism on the island as well the general health of the local population.
We realize that you cannot do this alone. For that reason, we are sending a copy of this letter to the government departments listed below. We hope that by bringing attention to this problem, the appropriate departments will assist you and the Town Board in achieving proper health and sanitation on the island. We believe that immediate action is needed to prevent a serious health disaster.
Thank you for your cooperation.
Einer Gomez, President
Ambergris Caye Chapter, B.T.I.A.
cc. Prime Minister Esquivel; Ministry of Housing; Ministry of Health; Ministry of Tourism; Ministry of Agriculture; San Pedro Sun