San Pedro Town Council

Hockey in Belize? Why not? Go Buccaneers!

Posted on

San Pedro Buccaneers and Withrow Park (Toronto) Tropical Knights  come together for a group shot at the end of the tournament. Two things that I heard and liked a lot: "Wait until next year!" and "We'll bring more teams!"
San Pedro Buccaneers and Withrow Park (Toronto) Tropical Knights come together for a group shot at the end of the tournament. Two things that I heard and liked a lot: “Wait until next year!” and “We’ll bring more teams!” At San Pedro High School.

They called the tournament the inaugural Caribbean Coconut Cup and the grand prize was an artfully carved and lacquered Belizean wood-and-coconut trophy.

The program cover described it as an “International Friendly Ball Hockey Tournament.”

And it was indeed friendly — after the games. At Wayo’s or some other fine beachside drinking and socializing establishment.

During the games? Read the rest of this entry »

Advertisements

Happy Birthday, Belize! Only 35 and still celebrating like a youngster!

Posted on

Belize Independence Day Parade, San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize, celebrating the 35th year as an independent nation.
Belize Independence Day Parade, San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize, celebrating the 35th year as an independent nation.

To me this picture says everything you need to know about Belize on Independence Day. The country is young, vibrant, ambitious — you’d have to be to wear a rig this bountiful on a day this hot!  It is no accident that this costume reflects the natural blues and greens of the foliage and Caribbean Sea in the background.

San Pedro’s Jump Up parade completely lacks the gravitas of nations with long histories of war and loss. The country’s one significant battle for independence is celebrated on Sept. 10, The Battle for St. George’s Caye, and even that seems to be receding into the realm of legend.

The 21st is given over to celebrating the people of Belize with sensuous dance, loud music, outrageously stunning costumes and a joviality that just shouts “Damn! It is good to be in Belize!” Read the rest of this entry »

San Pedro town ‘fathers’ deliver stern lectures to fire victims before disbursing relief funds

Posted on

Einer Salazar lectures fire victims on the importance of keeping their mouths shut before dispensing fire relief funds. Ouch.
Eiden Salazar lectures fire victims on the importance of keeping their mouths shut before dispensing fire relief funds. Ouch.

Yesterday morning I answered the San Pedro Food Bank’s call for volunteers to help sort donated clothing for distribution to Hurricane Earl victims.

By the time I got to the Lion’s Den in San Pedro, shortly after 9 a.m., the sorting process was well under way.

This is a pretty experienced group. Only a bit more than a month ago, 88 San Pedranos, businesses and property owners were left homeless by a downtown fire and the local Red Cross, Lions Club and Food Bank seemed to click together in bringing relief to fire victims. Including clothing distribution.

Now they were doing it all over again.

Fortunately, the overwhelming response to the fire left the local service groups with plenty of boxes and bags of clothing donations that never got sorted and distributed — and frankly didn’t need to. They were ready and waiting for Hurricane Earl’s victims. Which is why the Food Bank was urging only donations of non-perishable food and bedding this time. (Still needed, by the way.)

The Food Bank’s Brittney O’Daniel is spearheading an effort to raise $20,000 for lumber, zinc (roofing), nails etc. to rebuild homes of 49 families in San Mateo “half-destroyed” by Hurricane Earl. Read about it here.

Meanwhile, on Tuesday, as we sorted out clothing for hurricane victims — and the many fire victims who are still trying to recover — a second gathering was taking place in the Lion’s Den.

The funds raised for the Middle Street fire victims were about to be distributed by the Red Cross, Lions Club, National Emergency Management Organization and San Pedro officials.

But not without some drama. Read the rest of this entry »

Aftermath: Cleanup of massive San Pedro fire begins

Posted on Updated on

Below is a roundup of news reports and information on the devastating fire that hit downtown San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize in the early morning hours of June 27. More than 10 buildings were leveled and 88 people left homeless. Several businesses were completely destroyed.

Bookmark and check back: More content is being posted as it is published throughout the day. (Here is a link to yesterday’s posts and stories about the San Pedro fire: Police treating fire as arson.)

At the bottom of this post is a link to the numerous photo galleries posted by professional and amateur photographers. All telling the devastating story as words can not.

One truck at a time, the job is getting done. Volunteers and workers join together today to clean up the aftermath of the fire at Buccaneer Street & Pescador Drive in Town. (Photo by San Pedro Sun)
One truck at a time, the job is getting done. Volunteers and workers join together today to clean up the aftermath of the fire at Buccaneer Street & Pescador Drive in Town. (Photo by San Pedro Sun)

Thunderbolt water taxi makes special run in the morning with disaster relief from Corozal

From Corozal Daily

Jun 28 – San Pedro Fire Relief – The Management of Thunderbolt Water Taxi announces that Thunderbolt II will be making a special trip to San Pedro Ambergris Caye tomorrow June 29th at 8:00 a.m. from the municipal dock in Corozal Town. Send as much sundries as you can!

Anyone wishing to send donations to the San Pedro Fire Victims can make deliveries 1/2 hour before the boat departs tomorrow or preferably at 4:30 p.m. this afternoon at the municipal dock. This trip is a special one and will not stop in Sarteneja but Thunderbolt will continue to make FREE deliveries (until further notice) on its regular run departing at 7:00 a.m. each morning and stopping at Sarteneja.

Packages MUST be marked “San Pedro Fire Relief” “San Pedro Lions Club” c/o Thunderbolt.

Agencies caution against fund-raising sites, cite ‘official’ channel for giving aid

From:  San Pedro Emergency Operations Committee, NEMO

The Emergency Operations Committee (EOC), activated by the NEMO – San Pedro, would like to emphasize and advise that all financial aid for the San Pedro Fire victims is officially being channeled through the San Pedro Lions Club – Fire Relief Fund and the San Pedro Branch of the Belize Red Cross. The official bank account is ATLANTIC BANK number 211-382-902.

We are therefore asking all members of the public to discontinue from creating individual fundraising profiles, since it will only open the door for confusion and unaccountability.

The EOC has been working very closely with all the NGO’s, social partners, tourism stakeholders, local and national governmental organizations to ensure that all efforts are being properly coordinated. This is to ensure that all those affected by the unfortunate fire are being given equal assistance.

We take the opportunity to thank all those businesses, NGO’s, social partners, tourism stakeholders and other organizations and individuals who are working closely with the San Pedro EOC in this humanitarian effort.

For further questions or information, please call the EOC Command Center at telephone number: 226-4458.

Humanitarian spirit is healing wounds and sweeping away debris in San Pedro

From San Pedro Sun, 2:50 p.m.

The humanitarian spirit continues on Ambergris Caye as the community continues their efforts to help the victims who were greatly affected by the devastating fire that took place in the early hours of Monday, June 27th. The San Pedro Town Council along with many volunteers are heading a massive clean-up campaign in the immediate affected area.

While the clean-up efforts are underway, other volunteers and island non-profit organizations are ensuring that the affected families are fed, clothed and sheltered. Even organizations around the country have joined in the efforts to assist the fire victims.


More volunteers are still needed, especially at the San Pedro Lions Den with the distribution of items, as well as at the NEMO station, which is located at the San Pedro Town Council Conference Room in Town Hall.  The NEMO station will be operating for approximately three days with 24-hour assistance. For more information the SPTC can be contacted at 226-2198.

The Southern Ambergris Caye Neighbourhood Watch has set up and easy and fast way to donate through their webpage: https://sacnw.org/wp/product/fire-victim-assistance/. Any monetary donations received will be forward to the San Pedro Lions Club chapter. (See more photos.)

Palapa Bar will jam for the benefit of fire victims on Thursday

Jamming for the community -- Palapa invites all to come down and dance Thursday night. A percentage of the night's funds will go straight to the Lions Club relief fund.
Fire Relief Jam for the community — Palapa invites all to come down and dance Thursday night. A percentage of the night’s funds will go straight to the Lions Club relief fund.

This Thursday, the Palapa Bar will be donating 10 percent of the entire day’s sales or matching all donations made at Palapa Bar (whichever is greater) to help the Fire Relief Fund: “We will be making a donation to the Lions Clubs International (San Pedro chapter) at the Lion’s Den on Friday.

“If you are unable to make a monetary donation, please donate sheets, towels, pots, pans, silverware, plates, toiletries, soaps, toothbrushes, toothpaste, deodorant, and other hygiene products at the Lion’s Den, or bring ’em here, and we’ll give you a free rum drink in return!

“Let’s do what we can as a community to help each other. Please join us for Thursday’s Fire Relief Jam Night, and help give back to our community!

“For our friends outside of Belize, if you would like to make a monetary donation, please check out the only Lion’s Club approved website (at the moment) that is collecting donations online:https://sacnw.org/wp/product/fire-victim-assistance/

‪#‎SanPedroStrong‬ ‪#‎ReliefForSanPedro‬

Lions Den: Our clothing donations runneth over

June 28, 1 p.m.

Volunteers at the Lions Den are saying they have more than enough clothing donations.

What are needed most are:  food donations, toiletries and household items. As always, monetary donations are graciously accepted. Please share and get the word out!!

Tropic Air Belize has flown over 1,500 pounds of donated goods 

From Tropic Air

Packages at Tropic Air cargo awaiting shipment to San Pedro for disaster relief.
Packages at Tropic Air cargo awaiting shipment to San Pedro for disaster relief.

Thank you Belize for the generosity in donating items for the fire victims in our hometown of San Pedro. We have gotten over 1,500 lbs of donations as well as items from the Red Cross. Please continue to donate and send with ‪#‎TropicAir‬ Cargo free of charge. Label packages “Fire Relief” and we will have items delivered for free. ‪#‎TropicAirCares‬

If you wish to donate to those affected, you can drop your item(s) off at any Tropic Air Cargo station in Belize, and we will make sure it gets to those affected FREE of charge.
If the donation is for a particular family, we ask that it be properly packaged (no oversized boxes or items please) and labeled “Family ____, Fire Donation”. If it is a general donation, we ask that it be labeled “Fire Relief”, and we will take it from there.

Maya island Air is also flying donations in from the mainland for free and Caribbean Cargo is shipping them in by barge.

This is a tiny country with a huge heart! (See Tropic Air’s photos.)

Burned out remains of a washing machine are removed from the rubble in downtown San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize on Tuesday, June 28.
Burned out remains of a washing machine are removed from the rubble in downtown San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize on Tuesday, June 28.

San Pedro Town Council photos: Aftermath & Cleanup

The community of San Pedro stands strong and united after the Massive fire left 88 individuals homeless. After the impressive efforts of forming a bucket brigade to out the fire and also doing the impossible, they are out once again helping with the clean up of what is left.

Thank you to all the volunteers that have been at the site since early morning to help with the clean up. We also extend a huge thank you to all those businesses and people preparing food for the volunteers and the fire victims.

Thank you San Pedro! #SanPedroStrong #ReliefForSanPedro  (See the photo gallery)

cocolocoCoco Loco’s Beach Bar turns cribbage night into fundraiser

From Carmen Arenal

Last night, our Coco Loco’s Cribbage Crew raised a total of $375 to help the fire victims. We dropped it off at the Lion’s Den today. Thanks everyone!

At the 4 p.m. weekly Travellers Cribbage Tournament, and later for burgers on the grill, Coco Loco’s, donated 10% of all sales to the Food Bank to be given to the families affected by the fire last night. In addition, the bar matched the Cribbage cash total winnings.

Red Cross schedules fund-raiser on Reef Radio/TV

reef-radioFrom San Pedro Red Cross

Update: From San Pedro Town Council — Belize Bank has already kickstarted the radiothon with a pledged of $5,000! Thank you Belize Bank! Please make a donation and support the San Pedro Fire Victims in their time of need. We also need lots of volunteers to help restore balance.

88 or so residents (27 families) and 11 family and business buildings destroyed, 6 partially ruined buildings. 21 families (68 people) lost everything. (numbers courtesy of San Pedro Sun)

Reef Radio and TV Telethon – Thursday June 30th from 7:00 am – 5:00 pm on Middle St. Look for our dollar drive teams around town.

This Telethon be combined effort from Red Cross, Projects abroad, South Ambergris Caye Neighborhood Watch (SACNW), San Pedro Tourist Guide Association, Ms. Flora Ancona and Hellfighters Footsoldiers Ambergris Caye Belize will be joining forces with us on Thursday Radiation.

All monies raised will be distributed by the Lions Club. (Read More.)

Smart extending aid to victims

smartFrom Smart Sales Manager San Pedro/Caye Caulker

Smart is extending a helping hand to those affected by the recent fire in San Pedro which has affected twenty seven families. The Company will be donating $2,500 to assist the fire victims. In addition, the Company has activated its Smart! Cares Program to facilitate customers who wish to contribute. Customers can text to CARE (2273) and pledge a donation which will be deducted from their credit.

Smart will match ALL donations made.

(SEND A TEXT TO 2273 and in the body of the text put the amount (numerical) that you wish to donate from your Primary Credit … example if you put 5 then $5 will be donated from your credit).

Relief efforts for fire victims under way

From The San Pedro Sun

After a devastating fire that occurred after midnight on Pescador Drive on Monday, June 27th, community members have come together to provide relief efforts. Out of 11 buildings destroyed, 8 were businesses, and 3 were family homes. A total of 88 people were affected by the fire, and 68 lost everything.

San Pedro Town Mayor Daniel Guerrero emphasized that the main priorities are having enough volunteers to speed the clean-up, accommodations to shelter the victims, food, water, and clothing. The National Emergency Management Organization (NEMO), the San Pedro Town Council (SPTC), along with stakeholders from various Non-government organizations held a briefing at the SPTC conference room to discuss relief efforts for the fire victims.

According to Mayor Guerrero, recovery depends on the community. “This is a tragedy, and we need to overcome it just as we have in the past. I know people of San Pedro are hardworking, and I know with the help and ideas of our good people, we will get back on track,” said Mayor Guerrero. (Read more.)

Massive relief effort launched in wake of fire

From Channel 5 Belize

The families displaced by the fire are looking for basic necessities following the horrible fire. They lost everything in the blink of an eye. In the island, relief efforts have started, but it will take some time to recover from the tremendous losses. News Five’s Isani Cayetano reports.

Isani Cayetano, Reporting: In the immediate aftermath of the fire, San Pedranos are coming together to assist victims with shelter, as well as food and clothing.  A total of eighty-eight persons have been displaced by the conflagration and are in need of basic necessities.  Leading the effort and coming to their aid is the San Pedro Lions Club.  Since this morning, members of the organization have been doing their part to raise funds and collect various items to donate to the fire victims. (Read more.)

88 persons homeless as fire devastates San Pedro Neighborhood

From Channel 5 Belize

As many as eighty-eight persons have been affected by the biggest fire to erupt in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye. The inferno sent clouds of fire into the sky as smoke engulfed the area on Sunday night. It is not yet known what sparked the blaze on Pescador Drive in the heart of the town, destroying a total of eleven buildings before it could be contained. Residents assisted in the efforts to put out the inferno as only one of two fire trucks in the prime tourism destination was operational. All hands are on deck right now as investigations take place. News Five’s Isani Cayetano reports. (Read more.)

Block-burner on San Pedro leaves 88 homeless

From 7 News Belize

Tonight, 88 people are homeless, and there is major loss of property as San Pedro town tries to recover from a massive fire that devoured part of a downtown block in Belize’s tourism capital.

Tonight, we’ll have the story from the island plus the answers from the fire chief and the police.

We start with the basic narrative. This morning at12:45, The San Pedro Fire department received a report of a fire on Pescador Drive, which is in the heart of the town. By the time it was done four hours later, 11 buildings had burnt and 6 were partially damaged. (Read more.)

Ambergris Today photo from Monday afternoon shows the scope of devastation from the early morning fire in downtown San Pedro, Belize.
Ambergris Today photo from Monday afternoon shows the scope of devastation from the early morning fire in downtown San Pedro, Belize.

Ambergris Caye’s Massive Efforts to Assist 88 Fire Victims and Cleanup Downtown Disaster Area

From Ambergris Today

As the community of Ambergris Caye rapidly pushes humanitarian efforts to effectively assist the fire victims of this morning’s tragedy and ensure that they are fed, clothed and sheltered, the San Pedro Town Council pushed forward a massive cleanup campaign of the devastated downtown area and the San Pedro Police Department looks into making an arrest of an individual suspected to be the arsonist responsible for the fire.

Henry Jemmott, Assistant Superintendent/Deputy CEO of Police in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, stated that his department is conducting an internal criminal investigation separate from the San Pedro Fire Department’s investigations. They are looking at arson as to the cause of the fire.

Just a few hours after the massive and disastrous fire that raved through downtown San Pedro, the Lions Club, Leos Club and the San Pedro Food Bank were first to organize a collecting station for non-perishable food, clothing and personal items for the fire victims. Clothing, toys for children and even diapers have been made available to them, but now donations of towels, pillow, bed sheets and personal hygiene items are being asked for by the Lions Club/Food Bank. (Read more.)

Estimated million-dollar fire razes 10 buildings on Ambergris Caye

By Aaron Humes:

An early morning fire on Pescador Drive in San Pedro Town, Ambergris Caye is said to have razed ten buildings including homes and business and caused as much as a million dollars in damage.

Around 12:45 this morning, police and fire officials responded to a wooden two-storey apartment behind El Durado Store on Pescador Drive which was on fire.

The fire spread quickly toward Lino Meat Shop and ultimately further up Pescador Drive and Black Coral Street, wiping out several houses, apartment buildings and business establishments. (Read more.)

88 San Pedro residents affected by devastating fire

From The San Pedro Sun

As many as 88 residents have been left homeless after a devastating fire gutted through 17 homes shortly after midnight on Monday, June 27th.

11 buildings were totally destroyed, of which 8 were businesses and 3 were family homes. 6 buildings were partially destroyed. 27 families, totaling 88 people, have been affected by the most devastating fire San Pedro has seen in recent history. 21 families (68 people) lost everything.  (Read more.)

Clive Welsh photos: The clean-up is underway

By Clive Welsh

The clean up is underway; thank you to the many companies, businesses, visitors, tourist, Town Council San Pedranos. Thank God for His grace and mercy! (See photos.)

Karen Brody Photography: San Pedro Fire Aftermath

Work crews beginning the large debris cleanup as remanants of the fire continued to smolder. (Photo by Karen Brody)
Work crews beginning the large debris cleanup as remanants of the fire continued to smolder. (Photo by Karen Brody)

After taking these few pictures that left me feeling like I was in a war zone, I checked in to the Lion’s Den along with so many others to donate and spent the rest of the day helping in any way possible.

May the heart warming stories and the generosity from and to our neighbours be what is remembered long after we have come together and helped these families rebuild their lives.

I am grateful to have had a little part in this effort. (Read more.)

How Can You Help The Fire Victims and the Clean-Up in San Pedro?

From Sanpedroscoop.com

At the Lions Den on Front Street, donations pouring in. (Photo by the San Pedro Food Bank)
At the Lions Den on Front Street, donations pouring in. (Photo by the San Pedro Food Bank)

Sunday night there was a terrible fire on the highly populated, densely packed Middle Street in downtown San Pedro.  You can see the truly scary photos in Ambergris Today and San Pedro Sun.  THANK GOODNESS NO ONE WAS INJURED.  Yesterday morning, I posted pictures of the wreckage.

People and groups are stepping up almost hourly and the mayor has pledged – with a huge team of volunteers – to have the area cleared and cleaned in 3 days, starting today.  The San Pedro Town Council has requested more volunteers – their facebook page is the best place for updates.  Stop by the Town Council building – or speak to one of the officers at the site to help.

Here are the approved organizations that are leading the effort: (Read more.)

 

Photo roundups

Once again, the San Pedro community came together in bucket brigades to try and douse a raging fire. This is the third time in our 2.5 years here that we have witnessed such selfless courage by residents. The day before we arrived on this island, half of Ramon's resort was save by the bucket brigade and less than two years ago a large lagoon-side neighborhood near Boca del Rio was battled by the community alongside the fire department.
Once again, the San Pedro community came together in bucket brigades to try and douse a raging fire. This is the third time in our 2.5 years here that we have witnessed such selfless courage by residents. The day before we arrived on this island, half of Ramon’s resort was save by the bucket brigade and less than two years ago a large lagoon-side neighborhood near Boca del Rio was battled by the community alongside the fire department. (Photo by Jorge Aldana.)
Rebecca Coutant of San Pedro Scoop has published a full selection of images of the Middle Street devastation. Check out her blog post here. Clean-up has already begun.
Rebecca Coutant of San Pedro Scoop has published a full selection of images of the Middle Street devastation. Check out her blog post here. Clean-up has already begun.

 

When the power goes out on Ambergris Caye, the feet start walking

Posted on

Walking north through Tres Cocos, this property (a couple of residences, actually) is a real success story -- albeit an expensive one. A year ago, the water extended to the dock ramp and where you see sand now, there was a thick layer of stinky sargassum seaweed.  Tons of the stuff were pulled off the beach but keeping up with it was impossible. Now a stone wall and tons of fresh sand hold back the seaweed and keep it moving south with the current.
Walking north through Tres Cocos, this property (a couple of residences, actually) is a real success story — albeit an expensive one. A year ago, the water extended to the dock ramp and where you see sand now, there was a thick layer of stinky sargassum seaweed. Tons of the stuff were pulled off the beach but keeping up with it was impossible. Now a stone wall and tons of fresh sand hold back the seaweed and keep it moving south with the current.

True to its word, Belize Electric Ltd. (BEL) shut down the entire island’s electricity at 6 a.m. Saturday morning for some maintenance projects.

I suppose that sounds a little strange to you, my First World family and friends, but that is how things are done here. When something is taken off-line for repairs, the whole island goes black. I guess we just don’t have the redundancy systems that would allow them to bypass a transformer, feeder, substation or whatever.

By BEL does have a Facebook alert system and the utility posted warnings as early as Friday about the shutdown.

So, you adjust, roll with it and move on. Read the rest of this entry »

San Pedro roadside cleanup on Friday morning, just north of Sir Barry’s bridge

Posted on Updated on

This gentleman was part of a small group from a visiting evangelical community that picked up trash just north of the bridge on Monday. Thank you, folks for your good works. They made a difference.
This gentleman was with a small group from a visiting Christian church community that picked up trash just north of the bridge on Monday. Thank you, folks for your good works. They made a difference.

The other day  I published a list of things I would like to do in retirement in Belize. Not a global bucket list, just a local one.

On the list was a wish to organize a volunteer roadside cleanup north of the Sir Barry Bowen Bridge. You see, we have a trash problem.

Actually, a few trash problems.

One is that people simply toss their empty water bottles, beer bottles, baby diapers and Styrofoam containers  on the side of the road. Some rather lovely landscape can begin to look pretty shabby pretty quickly. Read the rest of this entry »