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Sep 11, 2008

Independence Day Uniform Parade moved September 22nd

Story PictureInitially, the concern about parading on National Day, which falls on a Sunday, was that church pews would be empty if there was a competing event. Then came the grenade hurled close to the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital, and now it is an entirely new ballgame. It is one that is so compelling that it caused the Belize Tourism Board, the Belize Association of Principals and a Ministry of Education representative to meet to discuss the question “To parade or not to parade?” After a full morning of discussions and pleas today by B.T.B. to save the parade, a compromise was struck. And that resulted in a new parade day, a new route and less students. General Secretary for The Belize National Teacher’s Union George Frazer weighed in on the meeting and what should be thought of those who stay at home.

George Frazer, General Secretary, B.N.T.U.
“Some of the high schools in Belize City were expressing their concerns and there was a meeting held with people from the B.T.B. along with some representatives of BAP or the central are high school principals and I understand there was also the representative of the Ministry of Education in the person of Mrs. Arlette Gomez, who is the Public Relations Person and that some compromise was worked out that about a hundred and fifty at the most high school students and other organisation like scouts, they would march on Monday and they also asked that they cut the route so that they gather from Memorial Park and they come North front Street over Bel China, then into Vernon Street, over Bel China, then into Vernon Street and Magazine Road, that they would then turn into Cemetery by Roger’s Stadium and cross Pound Yard.”

Jose Sanchez
“When it comes to those teachers who decide they don’t want to risk their lives to go in this parade, do you support them? Do you think they should be penalized? What is the BNTU’s perspective regarding Belize City teachers who won’t go in the parade?”

George Frazer
“I said there might be some concerns but we cannot live by fear, we live by faith and these things happen anytime. A lot of people went out there Saturday for the carnival not thinking these things can happen anytime. Even in your homes you’re not safe. That’s why we have to learn to cooperate and at the same time as we tell to the teachers, try to speak to the students and inculcate values and encourage your children and parents and others to stand up and fight against this evil. It’s a patriotic thing and yes, we like to encourage our teachers to participate. So the matter of fear, I ma never want to deal with fear; I am want to deal with positive things. We cannot use that as an excuse. Thing could happen anytime. The security forces are leaders are saying that they are doing their utmost best. Thing could happen before, after, or during parades as we have heard over the couple years, thing happen all over the place. Let us not live by fear.”

It is known that the handful of parading schools will carry placards against violence and unofficially we’ve been told that a major north side all-boys high school has chosen to stay out of the march completely. Its president declined to comment. The official ceremonies will be held on Sunday September twenty-first at ten a.m. at the Memorial Park. Monday’s Uniform Parade will go North Front Street over Bel- China Bridge into Vernon Street then Magazine Road into Cemetery Road, Orange Street proceeding onto Albert Street and ending at Yarborough Green. The Street Fete that follows will be held on the Marine Parade. In the rest of the country official day ceremonies and parades will be on September twenty-first.

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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