Features — 13 September 2011 — by Aaron Humes
Humble Belize City tradesman Simon Lamb (1833-1914) is recognized as the individual who singlehandedly kept observance of the Battle of St. George’s Caye on September 10 alive, after it had fallen into disinterest by the populace.
On the afternoon of this Tenth day, after the formal observance held earlier in the morning and chronicled elsewhere in this issue, Lamb himself would be honored, albeit by a significantly smaller crowd.
According to the organizers of Saturday afternoon’s procession from downtown Belize City to Lamb’s recently restored grave at the Lord’s Ridge Cemetery on the Western Highway, the UBAD Educational Foundation (UEF), Lamb’s part in keeping the Tenth alive deserves continual honour from his own, even if officialdom continues to minimize it.
A biography of Lamb provided to Amandala states that after a group of citizens organized the annual tribute to the Battle beginning in 1898, making it a public and bank holiday, celebrations began to dwindle after about 10 years and then Lamb stepped forward, personally organizing the annual festivities until the Tenth gained the stature it still holds today. After his death, citizens would pay tribute to him at his grave site in a manner similar to today’s march.
Despite the low turnout, the UEF’s Virginia Echols told Amandala, the yearly tribute (this is its third year) would continue, along with the work of promoting those unsung heroes whose work goes unrecognized.
Lamb’s industry with regard to the holiday led to his own house in the Loyal and Patriotic Order of the Baymen, and a street off the Cinderella Plaza is named after him.
At the grave site, a wreath was laid by former publisher of Amandala Ismail Shabazz, whose research led to the discovery and restoration of the grave site.
The UEF would like to thank the following for their assistance with this year’s tribute: Belize City councilor Dion Leslie and Leslie’s Block Factory; Kremandala for the banner used in the ceremony; Florasol for the wreath laid at the grave; the Belize Association of Michigan for obtaining the Imperial Band to lead the procession; and Gabourel and Sons for providing transportation.