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Feb 17, 2022

Looking Back at the Cultural Giant that was Romel Perdomo

The funeral service for well-known businessman and sports enthusiast Romel Perdomo will be held on Monday at two p.m. in Belize City. While the Perdomo family mourns his loss, tonight we take a brief look at his life, including his contributions to Belize in areas such as industry, sports, politics, and education.  News Five’s Isani Cayetano sat with his siblings earlier today as they shared recollections about his involvement in Belizean society.


Romel Perdomo

Isani Cayetano, Reporting

Romel Perdomo, like his siblings, is synonymous with the Travellers Liquors brand.  The family business was established by Don Omario, the respected senior, in 1953.  Since then, his children, including Romel, have cemented the legacy of the Perdomo family in various faucets of Belizean society, beyond what meets the eye.


Perla Perdomo

Perla Perdomo, Sister

“I know he was seriously involved in the Y.W.C.A.  He sponsored a program for more than ten years to help young women become more independent, to teach them a trade, and he was very involved with that.  Also, he was a big sponsor of women’s softball.  He was a sponsor of organized things, but also he helped a lot of female single mothers that needed help with education, etc.”


That selflessness was also evident in sports, particularly soccer. Romel sponsored several teams and cheered them on to victory whenever they took the field.  His brother, Myito, recalls his passion for football.


Jaime “Myito” Perdomo Jr.

Jaime “Myito” Perdomo Jr., Brother

“I think it was around in 1978-79 we took over the football team called Berger 404 which was a famous team in the sixties and seventies. We took over that and the company at that time was agent for Hague Dimple, so we sponsored the Hague Dimple football team and from there we changed names until the team became Duurly’s and I think we sponsored Duurly’s for closer to like about fourteen years. We became champions, Belize City champions, national champions. We represented Belize in several games abroad when we started getting into FIFA and CONCACAF. But all of this was being sponsored by the company.”


There was also political activism, another area where Romel Perdomo was quite enthusiastic and heavily invested.  His love of activities associated with government also saw him funding the United Democratic Party.  Perla Perdomo recalls his involvement with the U.D.P., as well as the Association for Concerned Belizeans.


Perla Perdomo

“He was the founder of the Association for Concerned Belizeans, quite active in that.  When there were allegations of corruption in government, he always spoke up about that and he was also a founder of the United Democratic Party when they lost, one of the only ones that funded that party when they were going through some rough times.  But even though he was a supporter, he would also a critic, the first critic out there, loud.  Sometimes family members would say, we have to tell him to tone it down, but he was always very, very vocal about how he felt when he saw injustice.”


From a business perspective, Romel was integral in the modernization of Travellers Liquors Ltd.  His younger sibling, Magali Perdomo-Gabb, speaks to his shrewdness where the brand and its markets were concerned.


Magali Perdomo-Gabb

Magali Perdomo-Gabb, Sister

“He was a big part of Travellers improving, all the improvements that we made.  When my dad got ill he kinda took over the management of Travellers and built it up to what it is today, along with my other siblings that still live here. I was in Florida, so when I would come I would see the big improvements that he would make, the bottling machine, the compound, the museum. She helped him but he was here helping with the financing and all of that, so he is a big part of where Travellers is today.”


Like his father who passed away from renal failure in 1998, Romel also struggled with kidney disease.


Magali Perdomo-Gabb

“He was diagnosed when my dad was also diagnosed and was about to get a kidney transplant which my brother Myito donated to my dad. We all got tested, all my dad’s kids got tested to see who would be a good candidate to donate a kidney.  At the time, Romel could not donate because he was at the beginning stages of renal failure. So he knew from back then. So when it came that his kidneys weren’t functioning, his daughter, Magali Perdomo, the lawyer, donated to him in 2005.”


Several years later, he would begin dialysis treatment. Being away from Belize was arguably the greatest challenge.


Perla Perdomo

“To me the biggest challenge for him and, I think, where he suffered the most, I mean doing dialysis was painful for him. Romel was a very active person. Even though he was older than me and when I was here at Travellers, and even after he came back from the transplant he was more active than me, going to his farm on a daily basis and all of that.  So when he had to do dialysis and he had to remain in the United States, I think that was the biggest challenge for him.”


Romel Perdomo passed away at age sixty-nine, several months shy of his seventieth birthday.  Ironically, his dad, Don Omario, also passed away at the same age.


Isani Cayetano reporting for News Five.

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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