Letter to the Editor: Recommendations for Mayor Daniel Guerrero
Friday, May 8th, 2015
Response posted on www.sanpedrosun.com to April 30th Editorial “Knock, Knock…Does Anybody Care?“
Dear Mr. Mayor,
Please, take a moment to just once listen and understand. How much money do you believe has been placed upon this wonderful and tiny island by foreigners who have come here to invest?
How much money do you think has been placed here by local business people who have sunk their life savings into running their own businesses here?
People who have arrived here with their funds, lived here, been born here, all using their money to build resorts, restaurants, shops and bars etc. Additionally, those businesses employ many, many local people who otherwise would not have jobs. Do you actually believe that foreigners (who are much more mobile with their wealth) are sitting here with their heads in the sand ignoring what’s going on?
The answer is “NO”, they see and hear the same things and the same complaints the tourists are making. Those businesses have seen record losses this year. RECORD. When a business starts to see major losses, the owners look to other places to operate. When that happens, the business is sold, closed or worse they write it off as a loss and simply walk away. ONE single business may employ 50-100 local residents’ possibly more. Larger businesses employ even more. Local owned family businesses close with no funds to support the family. Foreign investors that sell and walk away are more mobile to do so, right or wrong, they will leave.
San Pedro is tourism based. Given the current situation and the fact, this situation has been BREWING FOR A CONSIDERABLE LENGTH OF TIME, tourism is going to continue to
fall, more businesses will close and leave, more people will become unemployed and crime WILL TAKE ON NEW HEIGHTS LIKE YOU HAVE NEVER SEEN HERE.
You will, by allowing the current conditions to continue, turn San Pedro, BELIZE into a San Pedro SULA with crime stats off the charts and tourism down to a zero number. No-one will come.
When that happens, what do YOU think you will be left with?
Think about that and try to picture this island with virtually no decent operating businesses and crime so high people are afraid to leave their homes.
Then, those locals will move off the island to other parts of Belize. Think it won’t happen? Think it can’t? Think again! Shifts like this do not happen overnight BUT when the dominos begin to fall, they fall quickly! Things deteriorate fast and others follow suit of those selling and leaving. It doesn’t take “many years” for this to occur, it does in fact happen quite fast. You could be left with NO tourist dollars coming to the island spurring many, many problems.
To outline the issues:
(1) CRIME. An aggressive campaign done on a continuance basis to rid the island of crime-drug
families and persons, removal of those arriving here from unknown places with no family or jobs on the island simply to loiter and conduct illegal activities.
Mr. Mayor, have you asked yourself what would have happened if a tourist had been inside one of those taxis when those poor drivers were shot to death?
(2) GARBABGE: Continued growth with no plan in place and plan being actively used to handle
(Tourists take pictures of the roadside waste and upload them to TripAdvisor.)
Needs: Establishing a solid waste regulatory program:
1. Code development
3. Enforcement. In town, on roads, in yards.
(3) Traffic. The soccer Field idea previously mentioned was a perfect one. Many other tourist destinations are “walking” or “bike only” destinations and do just fine, in fact they do BETTER with that type of no-stress environment to the tourist. It brings back an old “colonial” feel to the island.
(4) Beautification Implementation. Don’t laugh or look away. NO tourists nor resident likes to visit or live in an ugly, run down, falling apart area. Those areas that may in the past have been nice are now commonly termed “slums”. Do you want San Pedro to be viewed as a Caribbean “slum”?
Implement a “Streetscape Plan”.
Have the streets cleaned, garbage removed, encourage all residents to “take back the streets” in volunteering to clean and remove trash and unsightly items. Summer is almost here and many are out of school and some out of work, volunteers daily can help! Plants and anchored waste containers even brightly painted should line the streets to blend in with new charm that the town area could have.
Paint is crucial to the outside of old buildings and all businesses should be made to keep the outside of the businesses painted, clean and free of any graffiti. Even large and I do mean large pots of plants and flowers lining the streets while tourists bike or walk past change the landscape from what we have now to charm, relaxation and inviting. EDUCATION is a must in implementing a project.
(5) The WANT to make a change. All this and more will simply fall onto deaf ears if there is no want nor desire to make big yet profitable changes. NO change that spurs growth of tourism thus the increase in dollars is easy and it DOES require an entire community involvement but with the right direction and the ability to convey the message that this
WILL be done, it CAN be done.
Now the big question, How BAD do you want to save this island? Or should we all decide to take our own invested dollars elsewhere…
This online paper [www.sanpedrosun.com] is read around the world, people…TOURISTS are watching and they are, as we read this, deciding where to spend their next dollar…Think and decide carefully.
/s/ Quietly Watching
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