– by Angel Nuñez – Enrique Staines was to San Pedro what George Price was to the country of Belize. George Price inherited a country with all rural communities without potable water, without electricity, and no telephones. Similarly, when Mr. Enrique Staines became village chairman, there was no 24-hour electricity in San Pedro. But by 1968, Mr. Staines had lobbied with our Area Representative and George Price and brought the first power plant generator for San Pedro.
You can imagine the impact that had in the lives of Sampedranos. Just a few years later, Mr. Staines worked on another dream of his and another need for San Pedro. In the early 1970’s he brought the first telephone to this island and connected us to the national grid, increasing communication, business, and our social lives.
Mr. Enrique Staines with George Price during a visit to Ambergris Caye
Sampedranos used to make a line at Mr. Staines’ house where the single phone was located. When he received a call for someone, he would send one of his children to notify the person of his phone call. As time went by the telephone company added more private phones to the grid using the number 20, like 2013 or 2052 or the high school 2014. Interesting, right?
When it came to service to the community, Mr Staines was very passionate about accomplishing things for his people. In the 1960’s Government decided to acquire the entire village land from the Blakes and put them in the ownership of Sampedranos. Again, Mr. Staines was right there to coordinate the distribution of land. Hundreds of villagers got title to a beach lot for $500.00, a Barrier Reef Drive Lot for $400.00 and a Pescador Drive lot for $300.00.
As a Village Chairman, Mr. Staines was well liked because he was proactive, caring and and fair with all villagers. As a person, he was well liked because of fine personality, friendliness, and he was approachable. After retiring from all other activities, Mr. Staines founded the Burger Isle and because burgers and French fries were a novelty to San Pedro, the Burger Isle was a resounding success. It soon saw its expansion and transformation into Elvi’s Kitchen, another success and brainchild of Mr. Staines and his wife Mrs. Elvie.
His roots in San Pedro include Enrique Staines Jr., Iraida Gonzalez. Gloria Staines, Jennie Staines, Ivan Staines, and Alma Gabourel who all have good reasons to be proud of him, but indeed, this entire village, now San Pedro Town is very proud of Mr. Enrique Staines and privileged to have known him. I would like those new comers to San Pedro to get to appreciate this man who touched many lives. He is “Un Orgullo Sampedrano.”