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Sep 13, 2021

Celebrating the Battle of St. George’s Caye

Despite COVID-19, and despite some rainy weather, on Friday, the official ceremony to celebrate the two hundred and twenty-third anniversary of the Battle of Saint George’s Caye was held at the House of Culture in Belize City. Due to the pandemic, the gathering was smaller and the ceremony was broadcast live on Channel Five.

 

Duane Moody, Reporting

With the arrival of Governor-General Froyla Tzalam, the ceremony, under this year’s theme, “Belize at Forty: Hopeful Hearts, Steady Hands, Together We Rise,” officially began. It was a celebration of our history.

 

Bernard Wagner

Bernard Wagner, Belize City Mayor

“Belize is one of the best living examples that can relate to the phrase, “History repeats itself.” Two hundred and twenty-four years ago, fourteen brave men from Flowers Bank journeyed to Belize Town, which is today our vibrant city, and tipped the scale of decision-making in favour of courageously defending our territory from a Spanish attack versus surrendering and evacuating. A year later, freed slaves joined the Baymen and skilfully brandished unsophisticated weapons and clever strategies to outmaneuver the ravenous invaders, successfully defending our territory from an existential threat, essentially safeguarding our destiny from someone else’s control. Today, we celebrate that monumental victory that has woven a fabric of pride, resilience and heroic determination in our collective gritty DNA.”

 

The event was muted due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which has claimed the lives of over three hundred and sixty-five persons in Belize.

 

Francis Fonseca

Francis Fonseca, Minister of Culture

“Our battle today is yes, a battle against COVID-19, but it is also a battle against poverty, a battle against crime, a battle against inequality and injustice. We must have a sense of purpose and a sense of urgency in fighting these battles. These are challenging times, but we Belizeans are a proud, resilient and hopeful people.”

 

Minister of Culture Francis Fonseca, who chairs the National Celebrations Commission, in his address said that while the activities have been scaled down, there are new features that have been established.

 

Francis Fonseca

“We are planting forty trees in each municipality, providing forty grants for innovative art and culture projects, engaging our artistic communities in each of our nine municipalities to create beautiful inspiring art murals. Establishing Belize at Forty prizes for culture and creative excellence, the Andy Palacio Prize for original Belizean music, the Leela Vernon Prize for creative community action, the George Gabb Prize for visual arts and design, the Don Elijio Panti Prize for protecting and developing indigenous knowledge, the Zee Edgell Prize for the literary arts, the Rosita Balthazar Prize for dance and the Beverly Smith-Lopez Prize for drama and theatre. We are also having four musical concerts in four municipalities across our country. A creative youth ideas summit in partnership with the National Student Union of Belize and a panel discussion hosted by the University of Belize on the State of our Nation at Forty. We each have a role to play in the growth and development of our beloved Belize. With hopeful hearts and steady hands, together we will rise. Happy Tenth Day of September 2021.”

 

Duane Moody for News Five.


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