Headline — 25 September 2012 — by Aaron Humes
The Old Capital marks Independence Day

“… just as our challenges and problems are great, greater still are the will and resolve of our Belizean people.”  — Mayor Darrell Bradley

BELIZE CITY, Fri. Sept. 21, 2012

The September Celebrations climaxed in Belize City beginning last night, Thursday, September 20, at the Memorial Park with a cultural extravaganza featuring local artists and performers leading up to the annual Flag Raising Ceremony and fireworks to bring in Independence Day, today, Friday.

This morning, the Old Capital’s official Independence Day ceremonies took place at Memorial Park, hosted by the Belize City Council.

Deputy Mayor Dion Leslie, in welcoming residents to the ceremonies, said that a nation’s independence signals an acceptance of responsibility for one’s affairs and that at ceremonies like these, there is always the call for national unity, repeated every year.

Leslie implored listeners not to sever 1981 from its roots in 1798 and the Battle of St. George’s Caye: “As a united nation, let us embrace our history, and make every effort to attempt to preserve every single event in this history, which draws the lines across our national face, makes our dreams sweet, and gives us the strength, courage and wisdom to perceive our national patrimony.”

In the keynote address, Mayor of Belize City, Darrell Bradley, in expanding further on the greatness of our young nation, explained that the nation earned its freedom peacefully, through the sweat and sacrifice of those who stepped forward to be stewards of the new nation, such as George Price and Philip Goldson, and lauded the fact that we have been able to integrate diverse cultures into one national identity and go about the business of nation building, including the peaceful transition of governments.

According to Mayor Bradley, while Belize, as a developing nation, does have continuing problems such as crime, violence, poverty, inequality of opportunity and political disunity, they are nothing we cannot overcome if we are resolved to strive as our forefathers did for a better nation: “…but just as our challenges and problems are great, greater still are the will and resolve of our Belizean people. We are a people who have struggled through seemingly unimaginable perils, but we have endured; through the Battle of St. George’s Caye, we have triumphed; through serious devastation as a result of hurricanes, we have survived; through economic distress and civil unrest, we have overcome. Strong at 31, we are a nation here to stay, not because of something that was given to us, but because of us, because of who we are as a people…”

Belizeans are simply “waiting for ourselves” to go beyond our limits and “embrace our own moment in history”, the Mayor said, concluding “…we are only limited by ourselves and our imaginations; that there is nothing as a nation that we have not faced and we cannot overcome…”

The ceremony featured presentations from Holy Redeemer Primary School, Gwen Lizarraga High School, the Little Miss Independence Junior Miss pageant winner and the Belize National Dance Company, just back from an international tour.

The subsequent Uniform Parade featured as per usual the participation of all Belize City high schools and two from the Belize District (Ladyville Technical High School and Tubal Trade Institute) as well as the City’s tertiary-level institutions, Wesley and St. John’s Junior Colleges and the University of Belize, among others.

Several of those institutions were celebrating milestones (such as St. John’s College High School, which marked its 125th anniversary of foundation by having the entire all-male student body of 615 out to march) or achievements by their students (such as Ladyville Technical High School, this year’s parade leaders, whose female softball team were regional champions at the CODICADER tournament, and Sadie Vernon Technical High School, whose boys’ basketball team also won the CODICADER tournament in their category).

The official 21st Bram was the Street Fete on Albert and Regent Streets in downtown Belize City.

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