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Sep 11, 2019

Tenth Day Speeches

Two hundred and twenty-one years ago, British loggers known as Baymen successfully warded off a flotilla of Spanish ships during the famous Battle of Saint George’s Caye.  That day, September tenth, 1798 went down in history as the day that gave rise to the birth of a nation. On Tuesday, Belizeans paid homage to the battle at an annual ceremony held at the Fort George Memorial Park.  On hand to deliver addresses were Patrick Faber, Deputy Prime Minister and Chair of the September Celebrations Commission, along with Belize City Mayor Bernard Wagner.  Here are a few extracts from their respective speeches.


Patrick Faber, Deputy Prime Minister

Patrick Faber

“Ladies and gentlemen, today we are celebrating and commemorating the two hundred and twenty-first anniversary of the Battle of St. George’s Caye.  It is an event that is well documented in the annals of our history, but what is most significant about this event is not only that it happened but that it is a reminder of just how vulnerable our society is in the context of that event on September tenth, 1798.  If the settlers of Belize did not successfully defend Belize or had decided on June first, 1797 when a vote was taken on whether to stay and defend Belize or to evacuate.  If the settlers had not voted to stay and defend their home then it is very likely that we as the inheritors of Belize would not be here today.  That fateful event began with two years of preparation for the defense of Belize and then ended with the successful victory over the attacking Spanish fleet and the eventual security of Belize for future generations.”


Bernard Wagner

Bernard Wagner, Belize City Mayor

“There’s a story of origin about this day and to me that story is unlike any other.  What we know is that on September tenth, 1798, the Spaniards after several failed efforts, made one final attempt at claiming our Belize.  On that day a battle ensued and our forefathers whom we so admirably call the Baymen thwarted those efforts and deterred the Spaniards permanently.  As a result, we celebrate today as one of the key historical events leading up to an independent Belize.  Hip hip hooray!!  Hip hip hooray!! I refer to this day as unlike any other because the Baymen were mainly enslaved blacks fighting alongside their white masters.  Those masters gave an account of a battle wherein their faithful black brothers risked their lives to defend a colony that treated them so well.”

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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