Belize and Mexico came together again last week in Chetumal, Mexico to form another of the many alliances between the two countries. On March 5th, representatives of Othon P. Blanco (Chetumal) and San Pedro Town, Ambergris Caye, signed the final documents establishing their official “sister city” relationship. This alliance will allow an exchange of cultural, commercial, industrial and tourist product for both municipalities. This formal event was held at the Alameda Park in Chetumal during the 10th Public Solemn Session of the Othon P. Blanco Town Council. At this historic accord, the Presidente Municipal (Mayor) of Chetumal Eduardo Espinosa Abuxapqui and San Pedro Mayor Elsa Paz affixed their signatures to this very important document. Bearing official witness to this was Pedro Ramon Peña Xicum who represented the Governor of Quintana Roo.
This new “sisterhood” signifies that both cities should share their cultural, scientific, social and industrial product, on a national and international level, with the main purpose of strengthening the ties of solidarity. Prior to the signing of the documents, Mayor Abuxapqui stated, “This new relationship has transcended the geographical barriers – our cultures and our friendships all unite us. When Belize (San Pedro) hurts, we hurt, and when they prosper, we also prosper. Belizeans will never be seen as strangers in this land. They will always be welcome here. ‘Nuestra casa es su casa’.” He emphasized that while disputes and war between nations are threatening world security, the friendship between Chetumal and Belize shines like a bright star that illuminates a path of hope that other nations should follow.
Mayor Paz stated in her speech, “History tells us that if it were not for the Mayas who dug a canal in North Ambergris Caye, we would all be a part of the state of Quintana Roo. San Pedro Town is the youngest municipality in Belize, being only twenty years old, yet we have come a long way in a brief period of time. We have learned, as a people, the potential our island holds, particularly in the areas of tourism and fishing. My understanding is that this very city we visit tonight is about fifteen times larger than San Pedro Town, but it is also evolving into a service and commerce-oriented economy. If this holds true, then I believe the industrial strengths that we each possess as two separate municipalities will make for a stronger bond since we indeed have a lot to offer each other. This, I believe, is the purpose of establishing a sister city relationship.” She then presented Mayor Abuxapqui with a carved mahogany souvenir as a symbol of this newfound friendship. As she presented this gift Mayor Paz said, “I present this to you as a symbol of the objectives we shall face together as ‘sisters’. In Belize, wood is symbolic to hard work as is clearly shown on the Belizean flag. Wood, particularly mahogany, was the first main export commodity of Belize. In the early 18th century, indentured servants and their masters toiled on the land and in the forests to produce this product that was so much in demand. Let us propose that as two municipalities, yet one union, we shall be able to work for the betterment of our people and towns.” Following the Mexican and Belizean national anthems, and a salute to the Mexican flag, the 20-plus Belizeans were treated to an open-air Mexican dinner at the Museo de la Cuidad in celebration of this momentous occasion. During the evening, the Belizean contingency was serenaded by a local orchestra, followed by San Pedro’s “Maestros Magnifico” Wil Nuñez and Dale Wallace who added a touch of island music, much to the delight of everyone present. Later that evening, Mayor Elsa Paz was presented with a special poem composed in honor of this alliance by Mexican poet Felipa Yolanda Angulo de Alonso.
The following day, the Belizean delegation was given a first-class, guided tour of Kohunlich archeological site. Following this, the group was whisked away for a delightful luncheon in the picturesque municipality of Bacalar, where they indulged in more mouthwatering Mexican dishes. The group also enjoyed wonderful performances by the Mexican Folkloric Ballet and the magical melodies of Mexican Mariachis. By popular demand, Wil and Dale again took center stage, prompting the gathering to kick off their shoes and dance the evening away. Belize Rural South Area Representative Manuel Heredia Jr. then addressed the gathering, sending greetings and well-wishes to the Mexican contingency on behalf of the people of Ambergris Caye. He saluted the representatives of Chetumal for being part of this newly formed alliance and asked that the ties only become stronger so that both municipalities may prosper. Mayor Eduardo Abuxapqui then took the opportunity to present the entire Belizean delegation with native souvenirs from the Chetumal Town Council. The fun continued later that night at Chetumal’s newest and hottest club – Mambo Café.
The San Pedro delegation who traveled to Mexico included Mayor Elsa Paz, Deputy Mayor Severo Guerrero Sr., San Pedro Town Councilors, Area Representative Manuel Heredia Jr., Town Administrator Alberto Villanueva Jr., Miss San Pedro Tatiana Rivero, The San Pedro Sun, and other key members of the community.
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The San Pedro Sun