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Sep 25, 2008

Holy Cross Anglican School of San Pedro is under threat

Story PictureThere is a developing story from San Pedro Ambergris Caye where Holy Cross Anglican School is claiming it is under threat because the land that the school sits on could possibly end up in the hands of a big time investor. The issue has the community up in arms. Holy Cross is an elementary school that caters to over five hundred students with feeding and computer programs and a medical facility for the community of San Mateo. The Reef Village Estate, owned by Belizean investor, Jess Pierce, has title to twenty-three plus acres of land adjacent to the school. And this is where the problem lies. The school is claiming that Reef Village is attempting to move Holy Cross primary to a location less than desirable, the old medical school, because the investor wants to develop a resort on the school’s land. But the developer says not so. The controversy surfaced following a meeting between the management of Anglican Schools and the B.T.B. that informed that the school was threatened with closure. News Five spoke to both sides of the fence today, first to Minister of Education, Patrick Faber, who says that the Ministry will not support the closure of the school.

Patrick Faber, Minister of Education
“There has been ever since the school’s inception, a conflict going on. Where the school is located is indeed in conflict with a developer, I think his name is Jess Pierce and there has been ongoing discussion as to how we can resolve that. But make no mistake we are very concerned as well about the health issue. There are some concerns about health in particular, given that the school is in an undeveloped area of Ambergris Caye, it is in the San Mateo are where there is no sewer septic system and there is also the situation where the school is over water basically and not over a land filled area. But closing its doors or shutting it down is definitely not an option.”

The community of San Mateo is not the most affluent in the island, and it lacked basic infrastructure. So two years ago the inauguration of Holy Cross Anglican School was a welcomed initiative. And with reports flying of either closure or relocation due to heath risks, News Five spoke to the Manager of the School, Francis Wilson, who rejected the reports.

Francis Wilson, Local Manager, Holy Cross Anglican School
“There is nothing about Holy Cross Anglican School that is not healthy or unsafe for the children. We have had three health inspections in the last two years. And at that point in time, the health inspector examined our septic system, examined the areas around the school, examined the classrooms, and only infraction he could find was that one of the ladies that works in the kitchen did not have on her hairnet. When the Anglican Diocese applied for the area where the school is located, when the application was made to the government, when the land title was actually received, it seems that the Diocesan land bucks right up against the land at Reef Village which creates a problem because it land-locks this area. And we have been told to our face by the person in charge of Reef Village that Holy Cross Anglican School would not be built, first of all, and if it was built, he would see that it did not stay there. So the issue we have is one of an accidental land title which was totally unknown to any of us, to the Anglican Diocese, that when the land title was given it created a problem with the developers at the resort.”

According to our sources, if Reef Village was to develop the area, it would essentially land lock the school and impede access by the five hundred plus students.

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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