Belize’s first step towards independence began on September 10, 1798 at the Battle of St. George’s Caye. This victory for Belize allowed Belizeans to claim 8,866 square miles of land, sea and rivers from the Rio Hondo to the Sarstoon River.
In 1898, 100 years later, a brave black man named Simon Lamb took up the struggle for independence. In May 1914, Simon Lamb passed away. In the year 1950, the march for Belize independence continued under the leadership of the Honorable George Cadle Price, the Honorable Philip Goldson, the Honorable Leigh Richardson, and others.
In 1954, Belizeans were given the first right to vote. The right to vote was called Universal Adult Suffrage. It is important to note that the period between 1950 and September 21, 1981, many Belizean leaders were arrested, tried and jailed.
The great irony however, is that as we got to celebrate the 32nd year of Belize’s independence, we still have Belizeans who are in the diaspora who are locked out of the right to vote in Belize’s general elections. I trust that both the Government and the Opposition will come together to remove this stigma, and also work on the stabilization of the Belizean flag.
It is important to note at this time, that in 1798 Belize first declared its borders. Also in 1819, Belize first declared its semblance of the flag, Sub Umbra Floreo (Under The Tree We Flourish); also called the court of arms, and which became the national symbol of Belize.
It is also important to remember as we celebrate another independence day that the aforementioned history was established before the country was called Belize and before it became an independent country.