by Wilfrido Novelo
Thursday, September 14, 2023
September is certainly the month to remember for Belizeans. It is our most historic month. On September 1st 1872, the troops headed by national hero Marcos Canul held the last war between the British and the Maya in Orange Walk. A monument at the former barracks in Orange Walk Town commemorates the event. The NORTHERN MAYA ASSOCIATION OF BELIZE (NMAB), of which I am a member, celebrates the event known as Maya Heroes Day. The diplomatic corps accredited to Belize attend the ceremonies.
Belize attained Independence on September 21, 1981. Prior to Independence, there was speculation as to whether Independence would have been on September 10 or 29. September 10 was ruled out. Given to his personal devices, then Premier George Price would have obliterated September 10 from the memory of the Belizean people. September 29, the birthday of the founding of the People’s United Party (PUP), was ruled out. There would have been an opposition outcry that would have divided the Belizean people.
Then Premier George Price never told the Belizean people why he chose September 21 to be Independence Day. Was it a midway compromise between the 10th and 29th September? Only he knew his interior monologue. What I like about September 21 is that it is an equinox day, when night and day are of equal duration. There are 86,400 atomic seconds in a 24-hour day; 43,200 seconds are day and night. It also ushers in the season of autumn.
On December 21, we have a solstice, when the sun will be the farthest from the earth, It ushers in the season of winter. On March 21, we have another equinox which ushers in the season of spring, and on June 21 we have a solstice, which ushers in the season of summer.
Belize has certainly progressed a lot since Independence. Prior to Independence, our population was less than 150,000 inhabitants. Our greatest problems are financial, especially with corruption in government with the PUDP. Belize is rich in resources. We have dolomite to manufacture fertilizer; we have gold (ask the Guatemalans). We have natural beauty (ask why San Pedro is almost an overseas colony of the US; Sarteneja is next in line). We have history and the archaeological sites of the great Maya civilization; we have our great Barrier Reef, declared by UNESCO to be one of the seven submarine wonders of the world. We have beautiful, clean rivers and the rainforests. We breathe pure, clean air. We don’t have any acid rain. We have the foods, the cultures and our greatest resource, a highly qualified, friendly, multi-lingual society.
It is a pity that in 2023 the omnipotent Prime Minister, Juan Antonio Briceño, chose to disrespect the Northern Maya Association of Belize by cancelling Maya Heroes Day as part of the official Independence celebrations in Orange Walk, and chose to replace it with a day dedicated to his politically inclined radio station “Centaur Fiesta FM” that espouses PUP propaganda, morning, day, afternoon and night. In September 2022, Maya Heroes Day opened the September celebrations in Orange Walk.
To further prove that the Orange Walk Independence celebrations have been politicized, Independence celebrations end after midnight on September 21, not before. Orange Walk Mayor Ladrick “Mad Bull” Sheppard has chosen to have an Orange Walk “Independence” event on September 29, the birthday of the PUP. If this isn’t GROSS, what is?
I mentioned corruption earlier. We have to say NUFF RESPECT to the Belize National Teachers Union for forcing the Barrow administration to sign the UNCAC (United Nations Convention Against Corruption). We need full enforcement of said convention. Former Auditor General, Ed Zuniga told the nation that during the Musa/John Briceño/Fonseca years, $666 million of the Superbond is unaccounted for! What happened to that money?
On our 42nd anniversary of our Independence, I want to end with this quote: “YOU CAN’T LIVE CROOKED AND THINK STRAIGHT, WHETHER YOU ARE A CHAUFFER OR A CHIEF OF STATE. WE HAVE TO CLEAN UP THE NATION BEFORE IT IS TOO LATE, BECAUSE YOU LIVE CROOKED AND THINK STRAIGHT”.
HAPPY INDEPENDENCE DAY TO ALL Belizeans, at home and abroad!