Saturday, May 25, 2024

SPTC continues working to keep San Pedro a child-friendly municipality

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In June 2021, San Pedro Town received “silver status” as a certified child-friendly municipality under the United Nations Children’s Emergency Fund-UNICEF. Since then, the San Pedro Town Council (SPTC) has been working towards achieving the gold certification, then on to platinum. According to the SPTC, the job has not been easy, but they are working on projects to improve parks and other public areas frequented by families on the island.
While some residents shared that there is always room for improvement, they appreciate anything the local authorities can do to enhance the safety of children. The Mayor of San Pedro, Gualberto ‘Wally’ Nuñez, pointed out the increase in security personnel, including police at Central Park. The park is one of the central public areas visited by families and other island residents. It has a beach and welcomes those arriving on the island via the ferry. Mayor Nuñez said that following the annual carnival, his team would beautify the park by painting it and increasing the lighting. Mayor Nuñez pointed out that there are no bars near the park. The decision to not facilitate trade licenses to bars near Central Park is to provide safer spaces for families and children, and SPTC is looking to relocate other establishments near Central Park. At the same time, the island administration said they are working hand in hand with the police to deter illicit activities at the park and are discouraging people from drinking alcoholic beverages while at any parks. Another upcoming upgrade includes more playgrounds at the park and others across town.

Flamboyant Park in 2019

Mayor Nuñez stated that other parks, such as the Flamboyant Park in the San Pablo Area, will undergo renovations. This area will attract food stands so families visiting it can have snack options, including treats like ice cream. According to him, the beach park in the Boca del Rio area will get more love and improvement to continue attracting more families, particularly on the weekends. He added that with the assistance of the Belize Tourism Board, they would place more garbage bins at this park and all the other public areas across town.
The Area Representative, Honourable Andre Perez, and his team have joined the campaign by adopting the park in the San Pedrito subdivision. The park will undergo maintenance and be kept in reasonable condition to welcome residents and children of that subdivision.

San Pedrito Park

Activities to engage the youth and community
Some of these activities, as per the SPTC, include sports. They recently launched a football academy with 70 registered young aspiring athletes on the island. Sports are a huge interest for island residents, and engaging young people in these activities allows them to explore their talents and become productive citizens. Other activities handled by some of the Councilors include social events like movie nights every other weekend, market days, and community events such as education and health fairs. The SPTC also engages the residents in keeping their areas clean and has started a cleaning campaign through the various subdivisions. The Mayor and his Councilors are also looking at ways to tackle the traffic issue in downtown San Pedro, which has become challenging.

San Pedro Football Academy

San Pedro Town aimed to be a child-friendly community in September 2014 when former Mayor Daniel Guerrero signed the agreement, and the town was formally recognized as a child-friendly municipality in March 2016. This was possible under the guidance of a Child Advisory Board, UNICEF, and the Caribbean Local Economic Development Project. Within the following year, San Pedro will again be graded if it has maintained and/or improved its services as a child-friendly municipality. Depending on those results, the town could be upgraded to gold level and afterward to platinum.

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