For the newcomers to San Pedro, here is a summary of a few “firsts”. You can learn a whole lot of informal history about San Pedro by simply perusing along. At the same time this is an acknowledgement to those people who set the pace for development of our beloved San Pedro and Ambergris Caye.
First Village Council: I am told that the first village council was headed by Chairman Wilfrido “Fido” Nuñez, who did a great job in leading good old San Pedro to progress. However, in all fairness, there might have been another one who was first, so we would like to acknowledge early village chairmen like Efrain Guerrero, Abel Guerrero Sr. J.P. Esq., Alfredo Alamilla (deceased) and Enrique Staines Sr. (deceased).
First San Pablo Residents: Development of San Pablo with roads and waterways etc. took some three years. Around 1990 we had our very first residents who were Bruce and Victoria Collins who owned the San Pedro Sun. Second was Lincoln Eiley and third was yours truly. In those first days there was no water nor sewer system, no lights on the streets but a lot of flora and fauna. Today there are over one hundred residences, restaurants, stores, bars, churches, apartments, hardware store and more.
First High School: San Pedro High School was founded in 1971 (33 years ago). The first enrolment was of 25 students and two teachers. It was located at the community center, now the San Pedro Town Council for sixteen years. It was not until 1987 that San Pedro High moved to its own building with four classes and 95 students. Today there are twelve classes and 325 students, 21 rooms, laboratories etc.
First Air Accident: In the early1960’s an American pilot, whose name remained unknown, tried to take off on a windy day with a light plane covered with a canvas-like material. He had loaded the airplane with several bags of sand to help stabilize the airplane. It was a grass runway and a short runway, but it was the strong breeze that flipped him over and he landed wheels in the air on the west side of the airplane more or less where Captain Sharks is located. He escaped death, but the plane was totally destroyed. As children we delighted in taking metal rods from the plane’s body and used them for spearing fish. Yes we made spears out of them. Gladly this occurred before commercial flying.
First Skiff Accident: Mr. Armando Graniel, the famous contractor of Graniel’s Cabinet, hit a floating log with his skiff, El Veloz while on his way from Belize City to San Pedro. At that time, Armando was a daring fisherman. The skiff started leaking and was about to sink. As soon as he landed at the football field area, he pulled it up, sprinkled gasoline over it and lit it. It burned to ashes. Later he was told that what he had done was a crime called arson, but nothing happened, of course.
First Bank: Those living in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s remember when Scotia Bank used to bring in two girls to offer banking every Wednesday. The office was about ten by ten feet located downstairs of Mash Residence across from the Catholic Church. Great banking- savings and withdrawal with perhaps money orders. (I hear they are coming again soon. Welcome, especially with loans.)
First Two-Party Election: Before 1984, village councils were elected at public meetings by a raise of hands. The first two party election campaign was held in November 1984 and was contested as follows: P.U.P.- Pedro Salazar, Betito Marin, Gilberto Gomez, Angel Nuñez, Nicolas Varela, Luis “Chato” Nuñez (deceased) and Gustavo Arceo. For the U.D.P- Claudio Azueta, Kevin Gonzalez, Manuel Heredia, Jose Gonzalez, Ramon Nuñez, Efrain Guerrero Jr. and Gilberto Paz. I am not sure whether we need any more political campaigns for they have become rather nasty.