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The Very First Ones Part 4

During the next few weeks “Twenty Five Years Ago” will be taking you through a list of “Firsts” in San Pedro and Ambergris Caye which have set the pace for a good start and have led to the development of San Pedro as we know it today. This is the third week with the continuation of “FIRSTS” in San Pedro. So who and what and when and why were the “Firsts”?

First Power Plant: If you want to see San Pedro’s first power plant all you need to do is ask Mr. George Parham’s permission at Sands Hotel and he will be all too happy to show you the remains of a an old generator that still stands in his property. It is rusty but perhaps you might be able to even find the date on the generator or he will take you back in the early 20th century for this accomplishment. It is said that it provided power for a privately owned business and a few neighbors in the area. Later Mr. Jim Blake (deceased) set up a fairly large generator for his own use and provided streets lighting for the main streets. This plant was located at the Sun breeze Hotel area and was cranked up from dark until about 9 p.m. This must have been in the 1940’s and 1950’s. In the 1960’s, Caribeña Fishing Cooperative installed a large plant that also served the organization and part of the town. Finally the electric company of Belize set up the first 24 hour power service to San Pedro and it was perhaps one of the best investments ever made in and for San Pedro. I understand that perhaps San Pedro is the second highest consumer of electricity in the country. B.E.L can clarify this if they wish.

The Very First Telephone: Can you imagine yourself in San Pedro without a telephone for one hour? Well, can you picture San Pedro without a telephone back in the 1760’s? There was a time when there was not a single telephone in this place except the ones we used to make with two tin cans and a long string. Some folks remember the very first telephone installed in San Pedro at Mr. Enrique Staines’ (deceased) house. It used to be located in his kitchen and when he received a call for someone, he sent a message that you should come and answer the telephone. A person could also go to his house to dial a number in Belize City or other parts of Belize, but not international calls. The number of that community telephone was 52. This must have been about the year 1971 or 72, and when the phone became popular, a little booth was build in the yard and then people used to come in larger numbers to make calls. When B.T.L realized that it was a profitable business, they came to install about thirty phone lines to individual houses. I still recall San Pedro High as 2014, Coral Beach 2013, Martha’s 2052 and Caribeña 2011. Do you know the number of telephones today in San Pedro? Would be an interesting fact to get from B.T.L.

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