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Feb 11, 2011

Six Million dollar facelift for San Pedro

A tourism project in San Pedro funded by the International Development Bank is running into trouble with residents of the town who over the years have relied on the designated area to earn their livelihood.  The project contemplates blocking access to the lagoon and for boatmen, that’s like taking from their tables. The islanders say that the consultations that have been held were merely to impose the project on them. But Tourism Minister and Belize Rural South Area Representative, Manuel Heredia says the six million dollar project will go ahead and that it will improve the aesthetics of the island. News Five’s Marion Ali reports.

Marion Ali, Reporting

This is the master plan for the San Pedro Boardwalk and Municipal Pier for the lagoon side area of San Pedro.  It will stretch for about a quarter of a mile and will include a street running straight through the nearby football field, splitting it into two, and a portion of the lagoon itself filled in to compensate for the lost portion of the field.  It will also have water taxi terminals, customs facilities, vending areas and piers.  But as the saying goes: “progress brings problems” and those who depend on that section of the lagoon for their livelihood say that the project will only displace them.

Rene Bradley

Rene Bradley, San Pedro Resident

“I’ve been working here for more than thirty years in this same area.  Once they come with this boardwalk there won’t be any access for boats to be pulled out anymore back here.”

Virginio Henkis, San Pedro Resident

“I fix up yah like fi haul up my boat and what not and if dehn put wah boardwalk then I can’t haul up my boat.”

Joyce Cano, Area resident

“This place is like a family place and we mek barbeque like a family, you know.  All the people could come and spend time here, you know.”

Manuel Heredia Jr., Minister of Tourism

Manuel Heredia Jr.

“When IDB’s plan came into effect then there were some changes.  They cannot just have the terminal without enhancing the surroundings and that is where the boardwalk and the seawall and those things came into the picture the picture to make it more viable.”

According to Minister of Tourism, Manuel Heredia, in order for the project to get the approval from the Inter-American Development Bank, it has to meet certain criteria, but while he admits there were alterations to the original plan, he said that the people who have a problem with the project have personal agendas.

Manuel Heredia

“Some of them have their own agendas also, right.  Everybody says that it is a beautiful plan.”

Marion Ali

“Everybody meaning—aside from these forty fifty people?”

Manuel Heredia

“All the stakeholders believe it’s a good plan, but the last two meetings, I have to be fair, no matter what you try to accommodate, they have said we do not want the project in any form.”

Marion Ali

“They won’t have access to the lagoon.”

Manuel Heredia

“No, that is not the case. At the last consultation, if you need individual  piers as you have, we will try to give you that, but in a more better shape and fashion, noh.  And the people who have their bodegas, warehouse, then we will try to see if we can do to a standardized form something that will suit about three or four of them that have over there.  The rest of them don’t want any type of that.”

Marion Ali

“But it’s like forty or fifty of them that don’t support the project.”

Manuel Heredia

“No, it is twenty-two; twenty-two stakeholders.”

Heredia also accused the people of squatting on the land over the years.

Manuel Heredia

“They have been squatting there over time.  Nobody has dared to say let us legalize our status over here.”

Marion Ali

“You’ve developed this portion of the land?”

Virginio Henkis

“I had it leased for nineteen years, when dehn noh come and try talk to me, like no tell me nothing bout it.”

Marion Ali

“You still have lease to it?”

Virginio Henkis

“No dehn stop charge me the lease, but we have the papers fi show how much we pay, nineteen years.  Like my work noh value nothing.”

The laborers we spoke with say that they also have a concern over how the project will affect the environment.

Rene Bradley

“Once they start dredging they’ll start killing everything that lives. Because they’ll have to fill in all that section that they’re talking about the water taxi terminal and stuff so they’re talking about sucking and dredging all this in here.”

Marion Ali

“What about the dredging?”

Manuel Heredia

“The dredging, there is practically nothing to be dredged over there.  What we were saying, we will clean.   There is very little mangrove probably close to Caribena, small amount.  We can work a way that that will not be destroyed.”

Joyce Cano

Marion Ali

“What about the part that will be filled in?”

Manuel Heredia

“The part for the playground, that part will be leveled and fenced neatly for other activities that we still have, practicing football, Costa Maya Festival and other types of things.”

Marion Ali

“So a portion of the sea will be filled in to…?”

Manuel Heredia

“Yeah, to accommodate what we lost over here.”

There have been at least three public meetings over the proposed boardwalk and municipal pier and Heredia says that the ongoing conflict has delayed the project from getting started.  He says that if necessary, the project will be presented to all the residents of the island for a vote.  Marion Ali for News Five.

The tourism project is one of four projects approved by the I.D.B.

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6 Responses for “Six Million dollar facelift for San Pedro”

  1. Justice for all says:

    I see nothing wrong with the project. Like the minister said, some people have personal agendas. San Pedro has had significant development over the years and if they want to continue being an attractive destination, then they need to progress forward. Of course provision should be made within the project to accommodate the fishermen, however in a more organized and certainly more hygienic manner. I am sure that after the project is completed, people will appreciate it.

  2. Common Sens says:

    Who owns land on the West side of the lagoon? Who will benefit the most from increased value in this land if this project is realized?

    Hint – the same people that are pushing very hard for the “face lift” when there are several other more beneficial uses for the 6 million.

    “Some of them have their own agendas also, right.” …..that’s right Herredia, what’s your agenda?

  3. bigsexxy says:

    I do agree after this place is finish it will look like Can Cun or something, lost all it`s natural beauty americanize that is, it`s all about nothing else and then who can`t afford it won`t be around it, it is called exclusivity, Bahamas was a natural beutiful place until they truned it into something almost like LasVegas, KEEP IT REAL! ! ! ! ! ! !

  4. john says:

    yeah, mr. manuel, taking about agenda, ! whats your agenda?
    tell the people whats yours?
    you will accomodate your self, thats what/

  5. Earl Grey says:

    SOMEONE WAS WATCHING ……BOARDWALK EMPIRE.

    Well……..WE REALLY DON’T DO BOARDWALKS IN THE CARIBBEAN……..especially in BELIZE.

    HERE………YOU TAKE YOUR SHOES OFF AND WALK IN THE SAND.

    THOUGH A BOARDWALK………………… AT B.T.L. PARK WOULD NOT BE A BAD IDEA.

  6. yandeh says:

    “Some of them have their own agendas”!!! Three or four of the 50 stakeholders have their own agendas, and these are stakeholders that use the area for their businesses. They are looking to get a pier in “a better shape and fashion” as Mr Humilde (HEREDIA) stated! These are the people that were suppose to have their area in top shape but NO, they want to take advantage of the situation and get everything ready! These people are just like Mr Humilde(HEREDIA). Heredia wants to get out of his humildad in one shot! These few stakeholders are the ones that Heredia is using to go through with the project because it was agreed that nobody attending the meeting wanted it but these few went to ask for their own benefit using the other stakeholders as their support, hence the reason why the last meeting Heredia was invited so he would realize that four out of 50 wants the project, four greedy stakeholders!!

    The stakeholders that have the area in front of their residence, their agenda was to keep the place clean and neat. They spent thousands of dollars to have it the way it is today! These are the people Heredia showed no respect or had the decency to inform or listen to their views! These areas are where thousands of dollars will be saved from the 6 million, and where will the money end up, whose pocket???? What compensation will the stakeholders that have invested in the area for 30 yrs, will get??

    Spend those 6 millions in the cleanup of the island! Illegal dumping affects tourism, so it is part of tourism, crime affects tourism or we will sit and watch the “beautiful boardwalk” and the abandon mansions when less and less tourist come to the island and no money to pay the loans for the mansions, and eating lion fish !!!!!!!

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