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”?
The First Mayor: Before San Pedro became a town in 1984, there used to be village council chairmen. Many chairmen helped run this village with a system that depended more on cooperation and volunteer service. In 1982 councilors started lobbying with central government to upgrade San Pedro to the status of town which meant that more revenues would be collected and more services could be given. Finally on November 27, 1984 , exactly 17 years ago, area representative Louis Sylvestre signed San Pedro's formal status as a town in Belize. The historic signing was witnessed by many mayors of Belize and many ministers of government. Mr. Gilberto "Chico" Gomez, being the chairman at the time was appointed provisional Mayor of San Pedro. A few months later in 1985, in the first town board election ever for San Pedro, Mr. Gilberto Gomez won a seat in the town council and his colleagues voted him Mayor of San Pedro Town. His other colleagues were Mr. Angel Nuñez, Mr. Pedro Salazar, Mr. Luis Nuñez, Mr. Edilberto Marin, Mr. Nicolas Varela and Gustavo Arceo. Arceo left for the U.S.A. a short while later and Mr. Baldemar Graniel assisted the town board during its first term.
First Horse: There might have a horse in San Pedro in the 1930's but no one can give me an accurate story of this animal. Traditionally, San Pedro has not been like other villages in Belize where the horse is man's best friend. However, in the early 1960's the village council chairman, it could have been Mr. Fido Nuñez, purchased a horse to pull a c art for the garbage disposal of the village. The poor animal when fastened to its cart refused to move forward. It gave a few steps backwards and then became as stubborn as a mule. Consequently, it was sold to Gonzalo Lara (Reds) who had the animal as a pet. He charged 25 cents for a half hour ride. The kids were very glad to get the horse for a shilling and rode all along the beach with the horse. It had no saddle, only a cloth was placed on its back and a rope in its mouth served as the rein. Indeed the horse was very tame and made a good horse allowing up to three persons on its back, but never the cart fastened behind him. The horse died on the island after it had eaten some type of bad weed, or perhaps died of old age. Perhaps reds should get another horse. Horseback riding is a great sport which we enjoyed very much.