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Sep 4, 2017

The September Celebrations Are Here!

The September Celebrations is here and the month long festivities kicked off a few days ago – but it was officially launched in Orange Walk Town over the weekend. A host of dignitaries gathered to formally declare the celebrations open to observe the anniversaries for the Battle of Saint George’s Caye and Independence Day. News Five’s Andrea Polanco has more on the event that happened in Orange Walk on Sunday.

 

Andrea Polanco, Reporting

The National Celebrations Commission kicked off the September Celebrations on Orange Walk Town on Sunday. The launch of the celebrations to observe the two hundred and nineteenth anniversary of the battle of Saint George’s Caye and the thirty-sixth anniversary of Independence was attended by the Governor General of Belize Sir Colville Young, Deputy Prime Minister Patrick Faber, and several members of parliament and the diplomatic and consular corps. Mayor of Orange Walk Town Kevin Bernard addressed the gathering, highlighting the theme of this year’s celebrations: Belize, Confronting Challenges, Celebrating Triumphs; Renewing our Resolve.

 

Kevin Bernard

Kevin Bernard, Mayor, Orange Walk Town

“It is a fitting message as we proudly celebrate thirty six years of nationhood. It reminds us that there are challenges which face us on every level, some global, others internal. We are a people very divided on many levels; politically, religiously, socially. Sometimes I despair when I see friends and family actually divided along these lines. So, yes, there are many challenges which face us individually and as a nation but as the theme reminds us, we need to renew our resolve, to face these challenges as one people and to overcome the,. My message here is one which I send out on a daily basis and it is as pertinent today as always, and it is a message of unity and tolerance. As a young nation, we can no longer afford division along any lines.”

 

In his capacity as Chairman of National Celebrations Commission, Minister of Education, Youth, Sports and Culture Patrick Faber reflected on Belize’s ability to adapt that comes with thirty six years of independence.

 

Patrick Faber

Patrick Faber, Chairman, National Celebrations Commission

“One of the lessons of this intricate development process is that the challenges we face all bring new opportunities. That is one of the positive aspects of being a young nation. We are adaptable, we are creative, and we are energetic and ready to accrue benefits in areas of which we have a comparative advantage; our natural and cultural resources, including our people, of which a majority is under the age of thirty.”

 

But even as young and growing nation while the opportunities are numerous, so are the threats and Mayor Kevin Bernard took time to highlight the Belize-Guatemala territorial dispute – calling for Belizeans to unite on this critical issue.

 

Kevin Bernard

“Today, as a people, we also face threats from our neighbor Guatemala. We have always known about the unfound claim to our territory, but now it is even more real than it has ever been before. It is also a fact that Belizeans who go to the Sarstoon River are aggressed and have been turned back by the Guatemalan military. We are now closer, than ever before, going to a referendum which will decide if we go to the ICJ for decision. These are issues which should unite us in one course of action. Instead, we are more divided than ever over the wisdom of the ICJ to determine our territorial integrity or not.”

 

Reporting for News Five, I’m Andrea Polanco.

 

At Sunday’s event, San Ignacio and Santa Elena towns were selected through a lotto pick to host the 2018 September Celebrations opening. 

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