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Jun 23, 2017

New House of Culture for San Ignacio, But Why Was Town Hall Demolished?

Nigel Encalada

In San Ignacio, there is outrage over the demolition of the historic San Ignacio-Santa Elena Town Hall at the corner of King and Hudson Streets in the town center. Reports say the structure had been deemed unsafe for human occupancy as of twenty years ago. The building itself had inclined some eleven inches and there had been areas, where cracks had developed that were one inch wide. The property had been sold to Atlantic Bank and the town’s services are presently being conducted from a nearby complex owned by businessman Abdala Bedran. The new headquarters of the San Ignacio and Santa Elena Town Council will be located at the old San Ignacio Hospital site, sharing space with plans for a new House of Culture by NICH. Today, Nigel Encalada of I.S.C.R. detailed why NICH can rehabilitate the hospital site but not the old Town Hall.


Nigel Encalada, Director, Institute of Social and Cultural Research

“The Town Hall which was I think previously a building funded by the Baron Bliss Fund, was in a state of disrepair; it’s a contemporary more concrete structure, and I think it was occupied by the Town Council and NICH was allowed a space inside that building. But because it was not repairable, I think that building had to be taken down. But to contrast that with the initiative to safeguard historic locations, NICH and the Town Council have acquired a property – the old Hospital in San Ignacio – and the location of the hospital is being renovated and refurbished currently for use as a House of Culture by the National Institute of Culture and History. So what I think you might be getting at is that while on one hand one building was destroyed, it was a more contemporary building which could not be salvaged, from my understanding. However, oddly enough, the building that is older can be salvaged and so it’s being refurbished to reflect some of its old character and to be used as a House of Culture. But the general principle across the country is to safeguard buildings of historic and cultural importance to Belize.”


NICH has established Houses of Culture throughout Belize except for Punta Gorda where land space has been sought. In the case of Dangriga, it is sharing ground with the Gulisi Community Primary School and Museum.

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