The monthly meeting of the San Pedro Branch of the Belize Tourism Industry Association (BTIA) was held on Thursday, January 22nd at the SunBreeze Hotel. President Julia Edwards opened the meeting and discussed the upcoming (Jan. 26th) DEMA (Dive Equipment Manufacturer's Association) trade show at Anaheim, California. Carmita Cardenas and Melanie Paz will be representing the San Pedro BTIA.
Ms. Edwards spoke about the marketing brochure that is being funded by the Belize Tourist Board. Einer Gomez is the head of the committee and needs volunteers. Bruce Collins said he disagreed with the way money was allocated by national BTIA (equal money was given to ten destinations) Mr. Collins felt that the larger destinations such as San Pedro, Placencia and Cayo should received more funding; that the brochure money should have been allocated according to the size of the destination. He said this is reflective of a basic problem with the mindset of organizations controlled out of Belize City.
Discussion was held regarding the tourist police and a recent suggestion that the 1% hotel tax earmarked for these police be withheld by San Pedro hoteliers. None of the police are stationed in San Pedro.
Fundraising events were discussed, since the balance in the chequing account is $286.54 (exclusive of the money intended for the BTIA San Pedro map.)
The Blackstone Report is being circulated for discussion and commented on by those who have read it (see article elsewhere in this issue.) Dr. Wil Lala said the report gives a wonderful background and says what is good and what is bad.
It was decided to ask the Town Board to have a joint sponsored meeting with the BTIA for the town's Justices of the Peace concerning the issuance of litter tickets. It was suggested that a massive cleanup of San Pedro be followed by a "from this day forward" litter tickets will be issued.
Groups of children (20 to 30 in a group) are roaming around at night said one member. They travel in a pack, are well dressed. This is as late as 10:30 P.M.. or so. They have urinated on seafront balconies and when told not to do that, reply with comments such as "You're an American. You don't live here." The manager of a major resort in town said the kids have been mooning his security guards. It was suggested that having a tourist police presence might help with problems of this type.
It was announced there would be a National Association Extraordinary General Meeting on March 21st at 10 a.m..
The meeting concluded with a question about the resignation of the national association's Chief Executive Officer Linda Muñoz. The resignation was confirmed and her letter of resignation was read to the members. She said that her term of office was marred by "difficult financial constraints... and that she was undermined by pettiness, viciousness and slander of her person by previous board officer(s)." She said she had been verbally and mentally abused. Kelvin Ramnarace, Membership Services Officer for national BTIA said that the search for a new CEO was on, and ads would be placed for the position.
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