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Jan 9, 2007

Sept. 10th: St. George

It may have come a little late for the people who make calendars but on Monday the Ministry of Home Affairs published its official list of public and bank holidays for 2007. In keeping with the trend of the last few years, some holidays falling on a Tuesday through Friday have been moved to Monday, creating a large number of three-day weekends. This was the case for Baron Bliss Day, which was moved from Friday, March ninth to Monday, March twelfth; and also for Sovereign’s Day, which was relocated from Thursday, May twenty-fourth to Monday, the twenty-first. Similarly, The Day of the Americas, also known as Pan American Day, will be celebrated on Monday, October fifteenth instead of its usual spot on October twelfth. The other holidays will be celebrated where they happen to fall, including the long Easter weekend beginning on April sixth, Labour Day on Tuesday, May first; Independence Day on Friday, September twenty-first; Garifuna Settlement Day on Monday, November nineteenth; and Christmas and Boxing Day, which this year fall on Tuesday and Wednesday. Don’t expect a whole lot other than shopping to get done on Monday, the twenty-fourth.

And while there’s rarely anything controversial about the listing of holidays, there is one anomaly that stands out when you look at the official schedule; that is Monday, September tenth, is designated as National Day. Of Course every Belizean over the age of five knows that the tenth of September is St. George’s Caye Day. So what’s with National Day? According to Errol Gentle, administrative officer at the Ministry of Home Affairs, in 2005 the designation for the tenth of September was changed from St. George’s Caye Day to National Day. When we asked why, Gentle could not say, other than that it wasn’t his decision. He did however cite Chapter two hundred and eighty-nine of the laws of Belize–that’s the section listing holidays–which, strangely enough, gives a designated name for every holiday except the tenth of September. To our knowledge, this is the first time the issue has been raised publicly.


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