Manuel Heredia (politician)

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Jose Manuel Heredia Jr. (born 29 September 1954, San Pedro Town) is a Belizean politician. He is a Member of the Belize House of Representatives for Belize Rural South since 5 March 2003. He is also the Minister of Tourism since 8 February 2008, from 8 February 2008 to 8 March 2012 he was Minister of Civil Aviation in Belize. After the 2012 General Election and the reshuffle of cabinet, he was appointed to the Culture portfolio which made Minister of Tourism and Minister of Culture. He served as Minister of Culture 8 March 2012 to March 2018. Another cabinet reshuffle occured in 2018 and Heredia was appointed again as Minister of Civil Aviation.

Early life and education

Jose Manuel Heredia Jr was born on a bright sunny September 29, 1951 in San Pedro Town to Manuel Heredia Sr and Rosita Heredia. He was born into a family of four girls and three boys and grew up enjoying the clear waters surrounding La Isla Bonita. When he was a child, Heredia went canoeing out to the sea, fishing and snorkeling in Caribbean Sea. Those were his favourite activities to do in his past time.

For his Primary education, Heredia attended San Pedro Roman Catholic School, now known as the San Pedro police station. He studied there from 1961 to 1966, he was appointed as a Student Councillor in 1962 and served in that role until he graduated. The two story wooden building provided him with a sound education. On Reconition Day he was awarded the “Most Compassionate Student” and ”Most Contributive Student” Award. After successfully completing his studies there he attended Saint John’s College High School (SJCHS) for his Secondary education in Belize City and studied there from 1967 to 1970. Heredia’s entire family made the move to the the City. At SJCHS, Heredia studied Industrial Arts in 1969 and 1970 and was specialised in Welding. Heredia was again appointed as a Student Councillor in 1968 and after an unprecedented service, was appointed to the Student Council Executive Committee (EXCO) the following year serving as the Head of Games and Events. He proudly graduated in 1970, winning four awards.

Welding career

After graduating, Heredia moved back to the island and began fishing with his Uncle, Francisco Arceo . Arceo was the Father of Heredia’s Cousin and Long-time rival Patty Arceo. Arceo and Heredia fished for four months, until he heard of a great opportunity in Landyville in the Mainland. Bowen and Brown Distributers were planning to build their beer (Belikin) Factory and were in need of welders. Since he had majored in Welding, Heredia decided to take advantage of the opportunity and made the move to the Mainland where he remained for 14 months. With the ball in his court, Heredia along with others struggled to weld but in the end they manage to complete the project in time. After the project’s completion, the manager of the Factory offered Him a job as a Maintainace worker but Heredia chose to move back to San Pedro Town.

He returned to the Island In January 1972 and opened his own Welding shop on Prescador Drive and eventually became the manager of that shop. Due to his stellar experience in the Fishing industry, Heredia was appointed as the Director of the Caribeña Cooperative which he served for 30 years, he still had his passion for the open sea and went out on fishing trips with Guillermo Nunez and/or Severo Castillo at least once a week their catches were then sold to the Cooperative.

On 25 November 1975, only one short month after The Lions Club was formed in San Pedro Town.