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Sep 8, 2022

London Bridge is Down

Queen Elizabeth II

Queen Elizabeth the Second’s death comes two days after Britain ushered in Liz Truss as its new Prime Minister. It also comes two days before Belize observes the two hundredth and twenty-fourth anniversary of the Battle of Saint George’s Caye, an event led by the British and natives in 1798; and thirteen days before we celebrate our forty-first anniversary of Independence from Great Britain in 1981. In the following report, News Five’s Marion Ali takes a look back at the life of Queen Elizabeth the Second.


Marion Ali, Reporting

Everyone who is in their late forties, or older, remembers when Queen Elizabeth the Second stepped off the British Airways plane at the Belize International Airport in October of 1985. It was history in the making – her first visit as the Queen of the Commonwealth and of Belize and an occasion in which many Belizeans, particularly schoolchildren, were elated to be a part of, as they lined the streets waving flags as she passed by. She returned in February of 1994 with her husband, Prince Phillip. On that occasion, she addressed Belizeans from the Speaker’s chair in the National Assembly.


[File:February 1994]  Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth, II

“Many of the changes which we have witnessed are to be applauded and encouraged. Many have helped the disadvantaged to achieve their proper place in society. But some – the increase in crime being an obvious example – have done damage to society and it is up to us to keep that society strong enough to withstand any assault from whatever quarter. It is never enough to treat symptoms alone. Such measures as the strengthening of law enforcement agencies and criminal justice systems are worthwhile, but we must simultaneously look at the real roots of the disease. That oftentimes means a process of honest and sometime uncomfortable self-examination by a nation as a whole. But Belize is capable of that.”


The Queen’s words back then resonated with Don Hector Silva, a man who has been here from the time she took the throne back in 1952. Today, he shared a bit of the monarch’s relevance in pre-Independence era.


Hector Silva

Hector Silva, Former Government Minister, Pre-Independence

“Belize at that time was just in its infancy adult suffrage, where Belizeans can vote without any conditions representatives and not legislatures. In 1964 we became self-governed even though she was our head of state.”


Silva shared his view that our relation with Britain in the days following our Independence was as significant as the events leading up to September twenty-first.


Hector Silva

“Her Majesty the Queen played an important role in the existence of Belize swallowed by another nation. Remember, through her obligation, we had the privilege of having a defense guarantee had we get rid of her we wouldn’t have this support.”


Now that she has passed, Belize will, like other Commonwealth countries, pay respect to the only sovereign that most Belizeans have known throughout their lives. As Minister of Education and Culture, Francis Fonseca reflected earlier today, Queen Elizabeth the Second lived through the swearing-in of all of Belize’s prime ministers up to this point.


Francis Fonseca

Francis Fonseca, Minister of Education & Culture

“She has had a long productive life. I think in her lifetime she has received about fifteen British prime ministers and all of our prime ministers of Belize, of course, have served under her tenure. I believe she has served our Commonwealth with distinction and with grace, so we are definitely thinking about her family during this difficult time. I think we understand the significant role that she has played in the history of the Commonwealth, which Belize is a part of.”


Queen Elizabeth the Second will be laid to rest on September eighteenth. Church bells across Belize will toll at eight on Friday morning to symbolize the reign of a new monarch – King Charles the Third. Marion Ali for News Five.

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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