City Council Blocks Fishermen From Their Boats

By
Updated: April 19, 2017

Fishermen who have been using the old commercial center building to access their boats which they have docked in the Haulover Creek are not happy with the Belize City Council tonight. That’s because the front gates leading to the back of the building was sealed off this afternoon. Hipolito Novelo has the story.

HIPOLITO NOVELO REPORTING

“The sealing off of the front gates leading to the back of the old commercial center in Belize City has fishermen up in arms. They say the entrance is important to them because it allows them to access their boats which they have docked in the Haulover Creek just behind the building. Jose Gomez, a fisherman from Cayo, says he has no other way to get to his boat.”

JOSE GOMEZ

“Where are we going to exit from and this is our main exit. Due to those people that came here, the foreigners and so and us fishermen from ever since we have had the old market here, this is our main exit.”

LOCAL REPORTER

“When were you told that the gates was being sealed.”

JOSE GOMEZ

“They didn’t warn us or anything. All of a sudden they just brought it here and sealed it off.”

LOCAL REPORTER

“This morning?”

JOSE GOMEZ

“This morning.””

LOCAL REPORTER

“So if they seal off this front gate do you have any other way you can access your boat ?”

JOSE GOMEZ

“Where are we going to anchor the boats? And then sometimes we have to haul up our doreys and its from out here that we have to come out from.”

LOCAL REPORTER

“So how many years have you been using that entrance to access your boat.”

JOSE GOMEZ

“From ever since I was born and this and that and this place had fishermen.”

HIPOLITO NOVELO REPORTING

“There is another way the fishermen can use to access their boats but Felix Copo from Copper Bank Village says that that way is impractical and too expensive for them.”

FELIX COPO

“They said they would close this thing and then we wouldn’t have access to our boats and everything and then at the end of the day we have to pay skiffs to come to our boats. Any time we have to come in and go out. So how can we pay that? Never were we informed and they brought the bars and they said they would seal it off so no one would come in here and have access to their boats and that we would have to go through another way and find our way.”

LOCAL REPORTER

“Is there another way to access your boat other than through that gate?        “

FELIX COPO

“Yes but we have to pay. Every time I want to come to my boat I have to pay a skiff $20 and then go out $20 again.”

LOCAL REPORTER

“And this is across the swing bridge?”

FELIX COPO

“Yes across the Swing Bridge.”

LOCAL REPORTER

“So every time you want to access your boat you have to go across the Swing Bridge, pay twenty dollars come and access your boat and then to go out pay another $20.”

FELIX COPO

“Yes.”

LOCAL REPORTER

“How many times would you access your boat per week or month?”

FELIX COPO

“I would say per day about ten times per day about ten times a day because if I need to get some kind of list or something I need to get the shopping list and I need to come to the boat every time.””

LOCAL REPORTER

“Do you know why it is that they are sealing off the front gate?”

FELIX COPO

“I don’t know why they are sealing.”

HIPOLITO NOVELO REPORTING

“Harold Requena of Copper Bank Village says he was surprised when he was told that the gates were being sealed off at 1 o’clock.”

HAROLD REQUENA

“We don’t have this access we have to pay a part from coming here we have to pay the boat at least $25 per trip so if we have to make three of four trips per day that is about  $100 or more and that would divide among the fishermen plus with the bill they would put it up with the boat bill and they would divide it by the amount of fishermen on the boat and that would come out more for us because right now there is barely any conchs, lobster is closed there is hardly any fish so where will that money come from? We have to use this access.”

LOCAL REPORTER

“What if the city council says that it is their property and not yours and they have all the rights to close and seal it off.”

HAROLD REQUENA

“Well I believe it is the property of all the Belizean people and fishermen because everybody benefits from us, we are the roots of our country so how would they come and lock us off that is like taking us out of our own house.”

LOCAL REPORTER

“They say they will seal it off at 1pm, what will you do then?”

HAROLD REQUENA

“Well it’s up to everyone, if they want to buy a hack saw well go ahead. I don’t give them wrong I would do the same thing.”

 

Reporting for Love News, I am Hipolito Novelo.

 

We texted Mayor Darrell Bradley for clarification but he told us that he is out of the country until Friday and suggested we speak to the City Administrator. So we called the City Council’s Public Relations Manager, Shane Williams and he told us the gate will be reopened so the fishermen can have access to their boats. He did not specify when that would be.