Headline — 31 August 2019 — by Kory Leslie (freelance writer)
NICH to standardize the Belizean flag

A statutory instrument will legally fix the color scheme of the flag and establish a protocol for flag re-creation

BELIZE CITY, Thurs. Aug. 29, 2019– One of the leading and oldest and most important symbols of Belize’s Independence has been our national flag.

However, after its conception, it would appear that the flag’s design has undergone just as many changes as the country since the proclamation of our independence thirty-eight years ago. The National Institute of Culture and History (NICH) decided that the inconsistency should be addressed and held a press conference at the Marion Jones Sports Complex to discuss their plans to standardize the Belizean Flag.

This was done in anticipation of the upcoming Flag Raising Ceremony which takes place on September 1 each year to mark the start of our Independence celebrations.

The audience at the press conference consisted of representatives from all constituencies and other delegates from the local government, as well as the candidates for the upcoming Queen of the Bay Pageant and numerous other attendees. The aim of the meeting was to provide a structured guideline for all flag recreations to ensure that all flags are consistent with the design of the flag that was originally flown on September 21, 1981.

For years, residents may have noticed that the two woodcutters depicted in the coat of arms to represent the Creole and Mestizo cultures have changed in color and stature frequently. In some adaptations, these changes have been so visible that they completely distort the ethnicities that were originally meant to be depicted.

Public relations officer of the institute, Neil Hall, as well as the Director of the Institute for Social and Cultural Research, Nigel Encalada, both explained on NICH’s behalf why it is important for this matter to be resolved. According to Encalada, the flag had been developed since the early 1800’s, but due to technological restraints, modern recreations have strayed from the original design.

Encalada stated, “The flag that you see at the background here is the flag that was hoisted at Independence. This is at the George Price Centre.

“The flag was produced in Liverpool, London, and you will see, if you look here, this version is an effort to try and replicate that, with the exception that you see there that the men are a little bit angular. This was clearly done by primitive technology at the time.

“Now we have much more advanced technology, so the men there are more anatomically accurate on the flag today. The two men represent a Creole Belizean and a Mestizo Belizean, the two largest ethnic groups at the time of Independence.”

The Minister of Culture, Hon. Patrick Faber, too shared his sentiments that the discrepancies in the design of the flag have been frowned upon and it is now time to have one unified vision as it pertains to the flag.

Hall closed his remarks urging the Belizean people to join in the effort to standardize the flag and accept the new design as the suitable and only design moving forward.

A statutory instrument is in the works which would legally fix the color scheme of the flag and establish a protocol for flag re-creation. A six-month grace period will be granted to phase out all variations of the flag at the official level, and a more detailed lecture on the flag will be open to the public at the Bliss Institute on September 17.

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