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Sanpedrano in Jail

There are things that happen daily in a large metropolis or town but they occur so rarely in small towns like San Pedro. Twenty five years ago when a baby was born in the village, it was a cause for celebration and the entire village talked about and was anxious to know the baby and learn of the mother’s welfare. The same is true of deaths. Perhaps a person died every three or four years and when it happened, everything came to a standstill in San Pedro. The stores would not open, the fishermen would not go out to work and everyone would approach the bereaved family to offer not only condolences but also assistance.

One thing that Sanpedranos and indeed the entire community can be proud of is the low rate of serious crimes that would call for jail sentence in the Belize City Prison or Ramada as it is called today. It used to be called the “Piss House” twenty five years ago. Now I have lived here for exactly 50 years and I know the history of this place, and if there is anything that I am really proud of is the almost absence of serious crimes that warrant jail.

Back in the 1950’s there was this case of this Sanpedrano who was sent to jail for two months for using a small penknife unto another Sanpedrano. It was the talk of the town and upon his release, everyone was anxious to see him and see if he looked different or would be different. Then in the 1960’s there was this big fight in which a Sanpedrano cracked the head of another Sanpedrano with a glass bottle. It was believed that he was going to jail, but he hired Attorney Said Musa who was a young and prominent lawyer at the time. The man was found guilty of accidentally causing the injury and was fined a few dollars plus medical expenses of the other guy, but now jail sentence.

Now I ask you to think really hard and try to think of a Sanpedrano going to jail in the 1980’s or the 1990’s. You hear it very often all over the country that so and so chopped this one or shot that one or raped that girl or worse yet shot and killed or robbed at gun point. Aren’t you proud you do not hear of this in San Pedro? This is good reason to try to keep it so.

The peace and harmony that characterizes the lifestyle of San Pedro must be preserved. We want our children to still be able to play on the streets in peace or go to the park alone without the fear of being hurt or kidnapped. Two women can have a fight over a love affair with the same man, but as long as they use their mouths and no weapons, no one will go to jail. Perhaps the biggest crimes going on today is dealings with drugs and if they stick to their own and leave the rest of us in peace, they too will stay out of jail. As for the young kids, when you do have to fight, use your fists and not weapons. Let us try to keep Sanpedranos or residents of San Pedro out of jails. Oops! This was supposed to be a story of twenty five years ago, not a sermon nor an exposition. Sorry, but happy reading anyway.

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