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May 30, 2002

18th Century cannon moved from bridge foot

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They were heavy, clumsy, difficult to operate and often blew up their own operators before killing any enemies. But cannons and cannonballs were the heavy weapons of choice for the Baymen and their contemporaries. Today, one of those ancient artillery pieces was unearthed in downtown Belize City…and News 5′s Jacqueline Woods was on hand.

Jacqueline Woods, Reporting

The cannon, which may date back as far as late eighteenth century has been at the foot of the Belize City Swing Bridge since it was built in 1923. Throughout the years the big gun remained at the site unknown to many who cross it daily …until today that is, when the six feet of lethal iron was removed, hopefully to be placed permanently in the city’s museum.

Darrel Carter, Deputy Mayor, Belize City Council

“It’s part and parcel of our historical approach to keeping Fort George and the Albert Division as close as possible to what it was and in terms of new buildings going up, keeping the same facade and looks. So the cannon is significant in that role and significant to our children’s children so that they can actually see what a big gun looks like.”

But removing the big gun was not an easy task for the Belize City Council workers, who used both a front-end loader and a grader to do the job.

Following several attempts, the cannon was finally lifted and gently placed on the ground. The activity may not have meant much to the spectators who had curiously gathered at the site to see what was taking place. But for eighty-one year old Alfred “Bunny” Clark, who came to witness the cannon’s removal, it brought back special memories. Clark was a long time employee for the Melhado store, which was located on the compound. Today, he says he cannot believe he’s around to see the big gun removed from his old work place.

Alfred “Bunny” Clark

“Ooh from when I have been here. All those years that I was here, that was right there. I use to drive the truck for Melhado, I use to be around working and all those years that cannon was right there.”

Jacqueline Woods

“What is it you would like to see become of the cannon?”

Alfred “Bunny” Clark

“Well they make a monument of it. You know put it as a show, something like that.”

According to Deputy Mayor Darrel Carter, the cannon will be taken to the Pound Yard where it will be cleaned and then given to the Museum of Belize for both the public and visitors to view. Jacqueline Woods reporting for News 5.

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