Eight years ago I complained in a letter to the Amandala newspaper about the deplorable condition the Swing Bridge was in. it is now time for me to provide an update.
Without getting into pros and cons of the aesthetics, historic or cultural value of the monstrosity which is being erected at the roundabout at the intersection of Craig Street and Marine Parade on Northside Belize City and not knowing the reason for this decision, I will take the liberty of assuming that it is intended to enhance our city’s touristic attributes.
Now we all know that for every single tourist who may go by this intersection (in buses), there are at least ten who will walk across our historic Swing Bridge, taking pictures as they go along, and with today’s digital high-definition cameras, all the dirt, grime, rust and lack of paint will be recorded to show families and friends when they return home.
A few months ago, I had already drafted a letter of complaint regarding a chain-retaining pillar on the Southside approach to the bridge, which lay on the ground for months, a hazard to pedestrians and a testimony to the negligence of those responsible for our city.
When CBS “60 Minutes” came to Belize for its Sunday, January 3, 1988 segment, the late Morley Safer stood on that bridge (also in a filthy condition at the time) and told the world that like Big Ben in London or the changing of the guards at Buckingham Palace, the bridge was swung regularly by six men at exactly 6:00 a.m. each day.
If ever there was an icon for Belize City, this historic Swing Bridge, built in 1922, should be it. Ten or fifteen gallons of paint would make a big difference because today it is a damn disgrace.
P. S.: The first bridge which linked the town of Belize was built of timber in 1818, followed by another timber bridge