Bring it back pon the old man grave
In seven years’ time Belize will be observing 100 years since the passing of the greatest benefactor of our country. In 1926, Henry Edward Ernest Victor Bliss, fourth Baron of Portugal, visited Belize in his yacht. The sea king fell in love with the fishing climate and the people he had met.
He fell ill and before passing, he sent for the governor of the colony and willed most of his fortune to the country. Without stepping ashore, he concluded that this beautiful country deserved the gesture. In his will he stipulated what the proceeds were to be used for. In his memory, the Baron asked to be buried by the sea, and a lighthouse be erected on the site. He also asked for funds to be made available for a sailing regatta to be held on that special holiday.
In the 1950’s and 60’s, as a boy I remember the “ninth a’ March” with much nostalgia as a day of sailing boats filling the Belize harbor, with movement of colorful boats of all sizes, including the historical sailing lighters that transported the brown sand for construction.
While the regatta took place, there were other sporting events taking place like football, cricket, horse racing and kite raising.
The Belikin La Ruta Maya is a commendable event, but now it seems like the only event. I recently asked my grandson, who is in 2nd Form, who Baron Bliss was, and he replied, “He is the man who founded NICH”.
After refreshing his mind, he then recalled some info about it from primary school. Is this where the story of Belize’s greatest benefactor will go? The 9th of March is Baron Bliss day!
Long live the spirit of the Baron!
Alfonso C. Ramirez, SR, J.P.
(Ed. NOTE: “Wi deh wid yu,” Alfonso.)