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Nov 3, 2022

Lisa Decimates BTL Park and Entertainment Strip

Stores and offices, as well as other business places, were also destroyed by the tempest.  We drove around Belize City this morning and observed proprietors of various establishments cleaning up and piecing together what is left of their businesses.  B.T.L. Park, a popular location where families recreate on weekends, is in a state of ruin.  Other restaurants and bars along the entertainment strip have also suffered significant damage.  Here’s News Five’s Isani Cayetano once again.


Isani Cayetano, Reporting

The business community is tonight reeling from massive losses incurred when Hurricane Lisa barreled through Belize City on Wednesday afternoon.  Today, a young couple is picking up the pieces of a small business they opened four months ago at BTL Park.  With all their attempts to secure kitchen appliances inside the booth, the storm surge associated with the weather system bathed the inside of the small wooden structure in a thick blanket of silt.


Ian Zelaya, Owner, L&I Cuisine

Ian Zelaya

“We had bout, I guess, bout three to four foot ah wata eena di place.  So everything totally damaged, stove, refridge, deep freeze.  Basically everything was under water, noh, everything.  As you could see, mud; complete loss, noh.  Well we haven’t tested anything back as yet, but hopefully we appliances and stuff do turn on back noh.”


At the onset of this venture, Ian Zelaya and his wife invested approximately ten thousand dollars into their business.  Elsewhere at the popular recreational area, booths, swings and slides have been toppled.  An iteration of what was once Pier One Bar and Grill has been completely destroyed.  Across the street at Thirsty Thursday, the gazebo that stood on the veranda facing the park has been torn from its foundation.  The cover is lodged between the veranda and the fence below.


Samir Rosado

Samir Rosado, Owner, Thirsty Thursday

“It was total devastation.  As you could maybe see over to our right here, the gazebo that was once a favorite for all of our customers has completely blown off.  It’s on the other side of the fence.  We suffered a lot of water damage, one of the windows blew out and so we took on a lot of water.  The yard is completely filled, the downstairs where we have our storage as well is filled with water and mud.  There’s a large tree on our property, it’s been here a while and we came to find all the branches all over the yard.  And so, it was just, it was just a lot of damage we took on.”


Strong gusts of wind, as the hurricane made landfall, also caused damaged at City Hall.  Ceiling tiles were blown out of place, exposing a tangled web of wires above.  The Belize City Council, occupied with evaluating commercial and residential damages is yet to conduct an assessment of its own.

On the other side of Haulover Creek, employees at Caribbean Sprinter are busy cleaning.  The plan is to resume operations by mid afternoon.  Overnight the crashing waves brought several inches of water into the building as they battered the doors.


Andy Myers

Andy Myers, Chief of Security, Caribbean Sprinter

“That forced the water into the building about four, four and a half inches.  So this is why we are cleaning up and trying to get it ready for the three o’clock departure.”


Isani Cayetano

“I notice that you guys aren’t wasting time in getting the business back up and running.”


Andy Myers

“Well, that’s why we are here for our customers.  As soon as we are back on track, before two o’clock, they could start come in and then we will have a three o’clock run.”


Isani Cayetano

“Talk to us about staying here overnight and weathering the storm.”


Andy Myers

“Well, overnight it was hard for me because I heard even the building, it seemed like it was coming down.”


For many, it was a frightening experience.  Samir Rosado and his staff weren’t at Thirsty’s last night to witness the devastation, but what’s unfortunate is that the establishment was only just rebounding from the dire effects of the pandemic.


Samir Rosado

“It will be a while for us to recover from this, you know, it’s a lot that we are seeing that needs to be done, but there is also a lot that has yet to be seen, you know, when the power comes back on and that sort of thing, I am almost certain there will be more damages that will come up.  So this is a huge loss and especially, like you said, coming out of a pandemic and we’re just trying to bounce back.  Now, whatever money we had set aside, you know, will be put back into getting the business back on track.”


Despite the losses, Zelaya’s spirit is not broken.  He remains optimistic that he will rebound from this experience stronger and better.


Ian Zelaya

“Nothing noh get me down, you know, always motivated, you know.  Dehn ya da just wahn minor setback, you know, I always look fi di positive eena everything noh.  So I noh really depressed or nothing bout it, yoh know.  We wahn get everything up and running and we wahn get back to business as usual noh.”


Isani Cayetano reporting for News Five.


Later in our newscast, we will show you the effects of Hurricane Lisa in communities like Belama Phase Four and Vista del Mar where storm surge has damaged a number of homes.

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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