The Placencia Village Council held a Public Meeting last night, December 15th, at the community center and you know I have to have my finger firmly planted on the pulse of this peninsula so I couldn’t not attend. Here’s a recap of what went down in case you missed it.
We began by singing the national anthem a cappella, which Mitch does ALL the time so I felt like I should be really good at it, but I realized his cadence is all off and he emphasizes sections that should be more understated. I will do some practicing on my own and nail it next time. To further shame me on my Belize knowledge they followed up the anthem with a recital of the Belize National Prayer, which I didn’t even know was a THING- let alone the words to it! Well, I certainly won’t be caught with my pants down next time! If you want to avoid this faux pas too, memorize the following:
Almighty and Eternal God, who through Jesus Christ has revealed Your Glory to all nations, please protect and preserve Belize, our beloved country. God of might, wisdom and justice, please assist our Belizean government and people with your Holy Spirit of counsel and fortitude. Let your light of Your divine wisdom direct their plans and endeavours so that with Your help we may attain our just objectives. With Your guidance, may all our endeavours tend to peace, social justice, liberty, national happiness, the increase of industry, sobriety and useful knowledge. We pray, O God of Mercy, for all of us that we may be blessed in the knowledge and sanctified in the observance of Your most holy law, that we may be preserved in union and in peace which the world itself cannot give. And, after enjoying the blessings of this life, please admit us, dear Lord, to that eternal reward that You have prepared for those who love You. AMEN
Reading of the Minutes from last meeting
Brice Dial went through the very lengthy minutes from the last meeting which I won’t begin to rehash here; if you want the cliff notes then read my past post on the last meeting.
Matters arising from Minutes
The main updates on matters from the Minutes were:
- Lobsterfest 2022 (a joint effort between Village Council and the BTIA) was planned, executed, and a smashing success. This is traditionally VC’s biggest revenue source and this year’s event garnered approx. $50,000bz in profit
- Sargassum Season was dealt with manually by the task force that was formed- employing 16 full time workers. It has been suspended now that the seagrass has stopped cycling in but will be reactivated if/when needed again
- The Emergency Management Committee reassembled for Hurricane Lisa but will solidify updated plans and present to the public prior to the 2023 Atlantic Hurricane Season
- Area Rep, Hon Rodwell Ferguson, facilitated the upgrade of lighting to our recreation field recently and has been active in promoting youth development and sports
Police/ Village Security
The BTB is funding “Safe Corridors” in key tourist destinations which basically means that VC and the Police can submit a map of the most travelled routes by tourists and those highlighted areas will receive additional lighting, cameras, and patrols.
Inspector Ical spoke about an increased police presence over the Holidays as the peninsula hosts an influx of visitors and this is typically a time of more frequent incidents of domestic disputes, theft, and drunk driving. The department continues to enforce a no concealed “edge tools” policy between 8p and 5a. So, if you’re carrying a blade, machete, or even a screw driver over 3 inches after 8p then it’s an offense. Officers will continue with stop-and-search of suspicious persons. The Department is proud to announce we haven’t had a single murder in the village this year- whoop whoop!
The 2 major sources of funds for Village Council are fundraisers (like Lobsterfest) and revenue from the Liquor Licenses which just collected over $41,000bz for the year. Regular operating budget for normal day-today functions is around $5000 per month so the VC is in a good position to not only operate as normal for the remainder of the fiscal year but also to fund some special projects. A full financial report is available for anyone to view in the VC office.
Fundraising committee/ Holiday Events
An Events & Fundraising sub committee was formed recently to assist with village events and ongoing fundraising. 20 vendors have signed up for this weekend’s Holiday Night Market down at the pier. The VC will operate a bar, music will be played, and the boat parade will end at the pointe- letting Santa off at the pier to deliver presents (donated and organized through Area Rep Rodwell Ferguson) to the kids.
Road Work/ Traffic Management
Traffic continues to be a problem in the village with inadequate parking, loading zones, heavy trucks, and construction equipment. The Chief Transport Officer met with VC and suggested a strategic meeting and the possibility of forming a mini transport board here in Placencia. If approved by the cabinet, the mini transport department could manage traffic in the village- posting (and actually enforcing!) actual speed limits, designating parking or no parking/ loading or no loading zones, and writing tickets for traffic offenses. SHOOOOOOT, boy! This would be wild. This would be awesome. I mean, sorta sounds like a pipe dream to me but I hope I’m just being jaded and it actually comes to fruition. I would love nothing more for people to stop driving so recklessly here but there’s, um, like NO freaking consequences for it, so people simply continue being a$$holes. Any who…. the ginormous pot holes across from Uncle’s grocery are being fixed today and the side roads recently (finally!) received improvements. Apparently there’s only ever been one grader for the district so it is a very slow rotation on when it gets back to Placencia and that’s why the roads have been so neglected for so long.
Conrad gave a report on the Sanitation Department which I couldn’t hear or understand all of- I think they’re looking for a new manager again? Collecting past due fees continues to plague them. The distribution of paper bills is being re-implemented (I’ve already had one come to my door!); you can make payments online (account info available through the office), office is open M-F 8:30-4:30, and a discount is being offered if you pay one year up front, you get one month free.
The campaign to clean up illegal dump sites in the village continues. The recycling program is suspended but Mr Goby & Friends will hopefully have some news for us on a new program, but nothing right now.
It was proposed, as a way to alleviate some of the traffic issues in the village, to switch village trash collection days because Mondays and Fridays are also big delivery days for the grocery stores so there’s so many big truck obstacles on the road then. This is something Sanitation could consider.
Health and Emergency Medical Services
The Polyclinic construction continues at the airstrip. Tiffany met with the head contractor, who predicts the roof will be on at the end of January and the construction completed by the end of April. The donated equipment has already arrived and is in storage on the peninsula awaiting the clinic’s completion.
Public Spaces/ Lands Committee
A Pier Manager has just been hired and signage has been installed at the Municipal Pier. Fees will be collected for docking, water, and trash service.
A new road from the area across from Wallen’s to Sunset Pointe will be cut/ bulldozed.
A major concern arises from the interpretation of the Liquor License Law about Good Friday and Christmas Day sale of alcohol vs businesses being closed all together. It is a dispute that arises every year and Placencia is the only village in the country that enforces a business closure. This is detrimental for tourism and a reform is needed. Even if License holders may not sell alcohol those days, they should still be allowed to open for food service.