San Pedro Business Association Tackles Issues - The San Pedro Business Association held its February 2008 General Meeting at El Divino Restaurant on Friday, February 22. At the head table for the meeting were Hon. Manuel Heredia Jr., Deputy Mayor Joseph Elijio, Elito Arceo and Terry Anderson. Issues addressed at the meeting were taxes, crime, garbage and the master plan among others.
BDF Help Decrease Crime
The meeting started off with Mr. Elito Arceo congratulating Hon. Heredia for his victory in the recent elections and his first good news of the evening was a report on decreased crime during the holidays while the BDF were on the island patrolling for Christmas and the New Year. It was reported that crime rate decreased by 8%.
Area Rep. Pledges to work for San Pedro
Hon. Manuel Heredia started off by thanking everyone for being present at the meeting and promised that he will work together with the local sector and government for a better San Pedro. He continued by saying that the Prime Minister, Hon. Dean Barrow promised that revenues will come back to San Pedro for infrastructure and other amenities and that the Local Authority will be able to do much more in the island for the betterment of streets, piers and other amenities.
“I believe that any ministry which wants to do anything in the island must consult their plans with the Local Authority and Business Sector before anything is done; they need to get the approval from the people of San Pedro,” stated Hon. Heredia.
Hon. Heredia mentioned that as Minister of Tourism he will work hand in hand with the Minister of Defense and National Security, Mr. Carlos Perdomo, to ensure that San Pedro is given the attention and provided with extra police officers or BDF for better security since it is the premier tourist destination.
Street Sweeper & Garbage Compactor on their way
Addressing the issue of garbage on the island, Mr. Heredia informed the Business Association of the good news that in the next few months San Pedro should be receiving its garbage compactor and street sweeper. He also mentioned that he would be taking this matter to cabinet in order to try to get central government to help in purchasing another street sweeper or garbage compactor for the island.
Another issue raised was having the hotels being zero rated of GST. Mr. Heredia stated that a vast number of things will be revised so as to make them exempt from some taxes. According to Heredia, the Town Council subvention will be increased so that the local authority can receive what it actually deserves compared to other districts in the country. The matter of San Pedro becoming a district will most definitely be revisited.
At the meeting, Officer Dennis Arnold, head of the San Pedro Police Department, was present and commented that while the BDF were stationed on the island it did help the police department and the community in a whole. He also mentioned that he strongly agrees in bringing them back to assist the short staffed police department on the island.
Concern for Crocodiles
A major concern of many members was the issue of crocodile feeding at the “WASA Pond” south of the island. Many tourists have taken it as an attraction and many children and adults alike are exposed to at least eight crocodiles in the pond which are being fed daily by humans. A suggestion to fix this problem was to fence the area and make it a tourist attraction and charge for seeing the animals being fed in a safe area.
To conclude the meeting, Hon. Heredia assured the members that Cangrejo Caye will be incorporated to the Hol Chan Marine Reserve and that there are plans as to making Mexico Rocks a protected area as well. More updates on the San Pedro Business Association and on the meeting can be checked on the Business Associations Website or call 226-4474.