BELMOPAN, Mon. Jan. 4, 2021– Two new public and bank holidays were proposed by the Government of Belize and gazetted on December 30, 2020. On January 15, Belizeans are scheduled to observe the first ever, George Price Day. The holiday is dedicated to the Father of the Nation and National Hero, Rt. Hon. George Cadle Price. Of note, January 15 is also George Price’s birthday.
Also, for the first time in Belize’s history, there will be a public and bank holiday in the country on the day that marks the emancipation of slavery in the British Commonwealth. August 1 is widely recognized as Emancipation Day across the Commonwealth. Since August 1 falls on a Sunday this year, however, the Government of Belize has declared August 2, 2021 as Freedom Day.
Of note, Pan American Day, traditionally celebrated on October 12, has been removed from this year’s calendar of holidays. This day was previously designated as Christopher Columbus Day, but has been widely criticized across the world in recent years.
Many believe it paid homage to the European conquerors who plundered and pillaged the New World of its human and physical resources. In some parts of the globe, it has been renamed Indigenous People’s Day. This year, in Belize, it has been completely removed from our list of holidays.
These changes were put forward by the Minister of Home Affairs, Hon. Kareem Musa. A motion to confirm these new holidays will be tabled in the House of Representatives at its next sitting, scheduled for Friday, January 8, 2021.