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The colonization of Ambergris Caye!

FeaturesThe colonization of Ambergris Caye!

Wednesday, April 10, 2024 at 12:46 p.m.

A few weeks ago, I wrote about my teenage years spending Easter in San Pedro. I recounted what an idyllic village it was, with a Land Rover being the only vehicle on the island. Alamilla, Paz, Nunez, Guerrero, Staines, Leslie, Munoz, Salazar, Blake, Parham, Ancona, Gonzalez, Forman and Arceo, legendary names of some of the founders and guardians of this precious isle. It was such a special place that, even though we would go to St. George’s Caye, or English Caye or Caye Chapel all year round, San Pedro was reserved for Easter only. We did not want to prove that old saying that familiarity breeds contempt, so it was our Easter haven.

All those people mentioned, with the help of expats like John Grief and Jerry McDermott, Steve Schulte and a few others, slowly and carefully turned San Pedro into a tourist destination, and converted it to one of the most sought out destinations today, by visitors from all over the world. San Pedro has become the golden calf, the lifeblood, and a lifeline to the economy of Belize! This expansion has made it harder for Belizeans to vacation there, because of the competition and higher-than-usual prices for room and board and restaurants. But with progress comes a price, so one can’t really complain.

What one can complain about, though, is all the secret developments that have sprung up all over the island. The dredging, the destruction of the fragile ecosystem by removing all the mangroves that protect it. On the lagoon side of the island, it looks like they’re building a new city; the expansion has been rapid and also disappointing. Disappointing because now there’s an uproar after the fact. Alarms are being raised after the wooden horse is already within the city of Troy! Where were you yesterday, before all the dredging and surveying started?

When the dredges appeared at Will Bauer Flats, the fishermen in the area started to protest right away. It at least slowed down the debasement of this natural habitat, and gave everyone time to figure out the next move. In San Pedro, it might be too late; in fact, it’s already too late to stop the destruction the dredging will cause in the long run. What effects will it have on the wildlife, on hurricanes—all the environmental damage the island will suffer because of greed and indifference and opportunity? I remember years ago looking out at the lagoon from Lisa Mccorkle’s penthouse, admiring the serenity and beauty of the lagoon, looking down to see if there were crocs around. Serenity now, serenity now!

How does a community allow these super developers to act with the obvious impunity that they do? Why would the town council, the government, not consult the people before permission is granted to destroy nature’s gift to them? Who are these developers, and how much of the island will they colonize before someone stops them?

I blame the citizens of the island, the local government and the government of Belize, for not appreciating our God-given paradise. I blame the local and national government for not consulting residents before any major development is approved! I blame the cynicism of politicians who don’t have the interests of the populace at heart, who believe that this too shall pass, and life goes on.

Maybe if Celi Mccorkle was still in her prime; maybe if the elders had been consulted; maybe if the town council cared; maybe if Minister Perez cared; maybe if greed and power didn’t matter. Maybe, maybe, maybe.

San Pedranos, hold those responsible for allowing this behavior to continue, those who think that you don’t count, that you will accept whatever is shoved down your throats; hold them accountable! This is a PUDP problem, and it has gone on for too long. You have to have a stake and a say as to what goes on in your community! Basta, basta, basta!

Glen

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