During the next few weeks “Twenty Five Years Ago” will be taking you through a list of “Firsts” in San Pedro and Ambergris Caye which have set the pace for a good start and have led to the development of San Pedro as we know it today. This is the third week with the continuation of “FIRSTS” in San Pedro. So who and what and when and why were the “Firsts”?
First Village Council Chairman: Depending on who you talk to, there is mixed information as to who was the first village council chairman. A village council chairmanship was not a political post. Government officials simply came to the island, held an open meeting, and by nominations from the villagers, a chairman and his councilors were elected. It is felt that the first chairman was Mr. Wilfrido "Fido" Nuñez (deceased), who was also one of the first J.P.'s. In all fairness to other chairmen, here is the list of others who were "alcaldes" in San Pedro: Mr. Efrain Guerrero, Mr. Alfredo Alamilla (deceased), Mr. Abel Guerrero, Mr. Octavio Alamilla (deceased), Mr. Enrique Staines (deceased), Mr. Gilberto "Chico" Gomez and Mr. Gustavo Arceo. Of these, past chairmen, three were also appointed Commissioners of the Supreme Court - Mr. Fido Nuñez Esq., Mr. Abel Guerrero Esq., and Mr. Enrique Staines Esq.
First Resident in San Juan Area: Before San Pedro Town was expanded to the limits of Boca del Rio (the river) the end of the village used to be Paradise Hotel. Beyond that point the land used to be "cocal" or coconut plantation on the beach and mangrove swamp on the west or the lagoon side. Government acquired the land in 1971 for village expansion and the land was subdivided and issued to villagers for residential purposes only - not for hotels, bars, etc. The first persons to build homes in the San Juan Area were George Eiley and Mrs. Leonor Rosado. At that time there were no roads, no water, no electricity, no telephones, no Cable T.V., no stores in the area. It was high bush all along and only the beach lots looked encouraging. Today there are some 150 developed lots in San Juan, all used up for residential and other purposes and it is a bustling little corner of San Pedro Town with restaurants, stores, bars and even churches as well as the other amenities that our town enjoys.