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Aug 31, 2020

San Pedranos are Calling for a “Change for San Pedro”

Frustration and desperation have given rise to a new movement in San Pedro Town. It’s called “Change for San Pedro” and it champions the concerns of the residents who remain under lockdown under the State of Emergency. “Change for San Pedro” was created when a resident from island, Candice Garbutt, was trapped on the mainland and couldn’t return to San Pedro because of the COVID-19 containment measure. As a result, she was left with little to no support to get back to her home. Well-known artist and entrepreneur on the island Melody Sanchez Wolfe heard her friend’s concern – and she was moved to take action after she saw how her fellow San Pedranos were faring under the S.O.E. Wolfe and Garbutt channeled all the issues into an online movement called ‘Change for San Pedro.’ Today, co-founder Melody Wolfe says that they have more than five action items that they are hoping that Government will review and publicly address for the sake of the islanders. One of the demands is that the island’s curfew of eight to five be adjusted to the national curfew of nine to five.  The lockdown expires on September fourth.


On the Phone: Melody Sanchez Wolfe, Co-Founder, Change for San Pedro

“I can see where people say it is a bit extreme, where we say that one is allowed to be on the island of Ambergris Caye until October first. I have family and friends everywhere and I agree that anybody should be allowed to go anywhere within our country. I agree with that. When people say San Pedro is so special, I agree with that. We are special in the sense that our island is narrow and it is dense because the people live closer together. It is not like in a village where people are spread out. So, things spread faster here and we have to take as much precautions as we can.   We are just saying that we want to flatten the curve and it is the best solution right now to put halt on the people who don’t have a valid reason to be here, then so be it. That is what the majority of people want. And we do want our residents back, like the people who do live here and those whose children got stuck because they went to visit grandparents over vacation and now they can’t come back and they have to pay a five hundred dollar boat charter. Do you know how difficult that is for a mother who isn’t making any money right now?  I am seeing that people I went to high school with don’t have money that are applying for these food coupons and it breaks my heart to know that these people can’t support their families. And to know that when the lockdown is over they are going to stop doing the food processing and stop doing the food pantry. That is scary because these people don’t have any income right now and the other thing is that the food pantry is taking so long  or people taking long to be approved. And then the fishing for sustenance – that was a big one for fishermen here. The S.I says we can but according to residents and people in our group, a lot of people who would go to fish on the docks would be sent back by the coast guard. Now, you are allowed to go fish on your boat if you have a license. But people who don’t have any money for food – what are they going to do?”


The movement is also demanding that additional test kits be made available for San Pedro. They say that the flu clinic is turning people away, including those with symptoms. They are also asking that until the S.O.E. is lifted, construction sites employ only workers who are on the island.  Wolfe says she was contacted by Area Representative Manuel Heredia who has asked for a written document to take the concerns to Cabinet.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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