So Great to See: The Inauguration of San Pedro’s New Police Barracks
Yesterday morning, an invitation was sent out. The San Pedro Police Barracks, the NEW home for eight police people, was finished! And there would be a 4pm Inauguration ceremony to officially baptize the brand new building and to celebrate. Many people from local and national government, from the business community and the public showed up for this momentous event.
I had seen the fundraising information and a few pictures in the local paper but honestly? I didn’t know that much about the project.
By the end of the ceremony, I really had such a warm, fuzzy feeling.
Listening to the speeches – including some super cute and heartwarming words from some of the more junior officers – I got a history of the project and heard how NEEDED this was for proper policing in our town.
Here is what I gathered. IN BRIEF.
Luis Castellanos, the Officer in Charge of San Pedro, is one charismatic guy who works to get what he wants. When he took on his position in San Pedro in the beginning of 2013, he toured the housing and immediately promised his officers that he would get them a better place to live.
Assistant Superintendent Castellanos
He approached Mr. Gricel Graniel of Mata Chica Resort for possible help from the community. Mr. Graniel gathered together a dream team of sorts: David Hess from Las Terrazas Resort, Mukul Kanabar of the Phoenix Resort and Brent Kirkman from Victoria House.
Together they committed $20,000 right then and agreed to help to raise the funds needed for new barracks – rooms that were clean, dry and with private bathrooms. The standard (in my mind) for a police officer serving our community should receive.
And to demonstrate the business communities concern for the welfare of the police and for the safety of our town.
In the end, over $180,000bzd were raised in donations. None from the government. (Although it was mentioned that $50,000bzd was committed to the project by our Area Representative, that money has not been received yet.)
For the complete list of the donations and expenses to date, take a look here. Businesses and individuals demonstrating their committment to Ambergris Caye.
An island of vital importance to us, the residents, and to the national government. As Mr Graniel said in his speech, this caye contributes over $550 million in taxes each year.
Mayor Daniel Guerrero spoke and highlighted what he thought is the next step in policing – a training camp or military base on North Ambergris Caye. To get soldiers and vehicles north – to “get rid of the playeros”. He called this initiative urgent.
The common theme throughout the speeches by the policeman and by Minister John Saldiva, Minster of National Security, was the policeman were frustrated by prior living conditions but not discouraged.
One of my favorite speeches was by the last gentleman and though I went to chat with him about his future career in Stand-Up Comedy afterwards (he might need a manager!), I don’t remember his name.
Here he is…love this guy.
He said that honestly? He was discouraged AND frustrated – thinking that new housing, though promised, was never going to come. His “thank-you, thank-you, thank-you” to the community and his promise to keep his room as neat and clean as possible got me a bit choked up.
Because honest gratitude is such a beautiful thing…and well…seeing our local policemen as “real guys” with senses of humor, smiling and laughing was very cool.
WIth news related to policing and crime generally all bad news (as crime tends to be)…and maybe it’s just me ,but police can often come off as a bit untouchable, very serious…
…to hear them speak honestly and to meet some of the guys after the ceremony was one of the best feelings I’ve had in a while.
But enough about me. The ribbon was cut. Minister Saldiva, Mr Graniel and Officer Castellanos.
We were invited to take a tour of the rooms.
They are still looking for donations. In particular 4 twin beds and some furnishing for the new rooms.
Food and drinks were served after the ceremony to celebrate.
What a difference it makes to see and meet the policemen in a setting like this. And what an amazing job done by our business community in San Pedro. It always seems so simple – let’s work together! But we all not that is easier said than done.
If you can, take a look at the donor list and thank those who helped out in person. What a great thing for San Pedro.