Last week the Belize City Council presented the Child Advisory Board for Belize City that is made up of twelve children and established under the UN’s program to make municipalities child-friendly. These children are being given the opportunity to speak on behalf of other children on issues that pose as obstacles in reaching the targets to make Belize City a child friendly municipality. When we spoke with the children, one of the key things mentioned was the need for safe spaces like parks and playgrounds. Kendisha Armstrong is one of the members of the Child Advisory Board.
“I think that we should be able to have more parks and I know we always have concerts at the park but they are not for children our age so I think we should have more child oriented activities that children can come out to enjoy themselves as well as to build places where only children can go to have fun and bond and play with each other.”
The discussion of safe spaces and parks and playgrounds for the children did resurrect the issue of the Pier One Bar which had come against much criticism from the public as it is located in the park. Mayor of Belize City, Darrell Bradley, however, had insisted at the time that no alcoholic beverages were being sold at the establishment and had stood his ground until the media had exhausted the questions on the matter. Interestingly, two members of the Child Advisory Board did express concern on the bar’s location.
“I don’t really support that there is actually a bar at a park because you know when children go to a park they won’t be able to feel safe because what if someone drunk is coming out of the bar and that puts the children in harm so I think that the mayor and the Belizean government should really look into that to move this bar out of the park so that the park can be only for children so that children can be able to play and be in a safe environment.”
“I feel that adults too can have fun and go around and socialize but I don’t really think that it would be safe in a sense for it to be in a park because at the same time children need to have fun and play and if they go around and see bars with people in and out of it that won’t really be a stable environment for them to be in.”
The Pier One Bar was opened in 2014 and the only access to the establishment is through the BTL Park on Newtown Barracks.