In 1972 when I was a member of the House of Representatives, I accompanied Hon. Minister Fred Hunter to San Pedro Sula (Honduras) to the United Fruit Company to lobby for an amount of banana-suckers to help Cowpen (bordering the Toledo District).
We were successful. Minister Hunter employed Mr. Ray Usher, a Belizean employed at Puerto Barrios by United Fruit Company, who was on pension, to help farmers in Cowpen to plant bananas. It was successful. Cowpen became Bella Vista, with Hondurans who were approximately 90% of the planters.
Ffyffes from Britain bought bananas from Cowpen, and Prince Philip, on his trip to Independence, ordered PWD to continue along the Southern Highway to pass by Bella Vista.
Nowadays, the exportation of bananas provides a handsome revenue for Belize. After Said Musa formed his Cabinet, I was appointed Rural Development Officer for Toledo (along with Miguel Choco), and we went on to establish a rudimentary water system (and electricity came after that) .
Now Bella Vista is a thriving town, with mostly Hondurans and Guats and Salvadorans. Hon Mike Espat came after that and developed Bella Vista.
Hon Fred Hunter, by being Minister of Agrilculture, Minister of Works and other ministries, showed his accomplishments —— but I will write about that on another occasion!
May he rest in peace – Frederick Hopkins Hunter.
Alejandro Vernon, former area representative (J.P.)