This is the second week with the continuation of “FIRSTS” in San Pedro. It is in acknowledgement and appreciation to those who set the pace for the development of our beautiful Isla Bonita.
First Doctor: The first doctor to offer his services to the people of San Pedro was Dr. Manuel Lizama of Belize City. Today we complain when there is no doctor in San Pedro for one day or even for one hour because we have a population of some 8 thousand, and out of them all, someone is bound to have severe pains and need a doctor almost every hour. Dr. Lizama only served San Pedro once a week, and it seemed that people waited for that day very patiently. In fact, there were some days when the good doctor came and only had one or two patients with minor problems. You need to remember that at the time of Dr. Lizama, there was a population of some 500 persons, so that was one doctor to 500 persons. Today there are three doctors for 8,000 or a ratio of one doctor for every 2,666 persons. Dr. Lizama operated at a little wooden building that belonged to Mr. Apoloño Alamilla where The Alijua Building is at present. The first doctor to live permanently on the island is our good Dr. Otto Rodriguez at the Lions Community Clinic, and he has been there for over twenty years. Thank you Dr. Lizama and Dr. Rodriguez.
First Cinema or Movie Theatre: The first movies shown here in San Pedro were at the park by the government information service. They were documentaries about cows and agriculture or control of diseases. The entire village of some four hundred inhabitants stood around Central Park to witness such spectacles. The first cinema to be completed was owned by Jim Blake (deceased) where Sun Breeze is presently located. It never went into operation as it was destroyed by Hurricane Hattie a few weeks before inauguration in 1961. It was a first class cinema with cushioned seats and large screen etc. The first one to operate was Teatro Arenas owned by Mr. Wilfrido Nuñez Sr. (deceased) It is the same building now used as Jaguar’s Temple, but used to be located where Fido’s Courtyard presently stands. The cinema was then passed to Mr. Pedro Salazar and now belongs to Pedro Salazar Jr. Unfortunately for San Pedro, there is no cinema for us to enjoy the latest releases in movies. Next investor, a cinema instead of a bar, PLEASE!
First Bar: The old timers speak about a famous place in San Pedro known as El Casino, which was nothing of a casino but rather a dance hall and apparently liquor was either sold or consumed in that place since the 1930’s. According to stories, it was located somewhere by Central Park area. In the 1950’s there was one bar proper, which used to belong to Mr. Gildardo “Daddy” Paz. The bar was called Daddy’s Club and was equipped with bar, dance hall and even billiard tables and pool tables later on. That business has been the center of entertainment since the 1950’s and very proudly still stands today as Big Daddy’s. It has withstood Hurricane Janet, Hurricane Hattie, Hurricane Keith and several others that have threatened our beaches like Hurricanes Carmen, Fifi, Gretta, Gilbert, and others. Long live Big Daddy’s.