Belize's Independence Day Reflects New Nation’s Success

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The 33rd anniversary of Belizean independence was celebrated September 21st in what the Lodge at Chaa Creek hailed as a reflection of the region's newest nation's ongoing success

Belizeans Celebrate Independence Day

Belizeans Celebrate Independence Day

Belizeans love a party, and this is the biggest party of the year

The thirty-third anniversary of Belizean independence was celebrated September 21st in what the Lodge at Chaa Creek called one of the most ambitious, well attended and well behaved celebrations since the country achieved Independence in 1981.

The Belizean eco-resort’s co-owner and GM, Lucy Fleming, who has been involved in Belize’s independence day celebrations since their inception, said the 2014 national festivities stood out for combining enthusiastic celebrating with serious discussions about Belize’s continuing development as the region’s newest nation.

Ms Fleming and her husband Mick began taking guests at their family farm at Chaa Creek just as Belize achieved independence. As a past president of the Belize Tourism Industry Association, she has been a key player in the development of the country’s eco-tourism industry.

“The September celebrations are always a great party, and this year there also seemed to be a fair amount of stock taking and discussion about current issues and the future,” Ms Fleming said.

“The fact that an ongoing national conversation about Belize’s future is taking place in the midst of celebrating past achievements shows how vibrant democracy, free speech and participation are in today’s Belize,” she added.

Diane Haylock, director of the National Institute of Culture and History, speaking on behalf of the Minister of Tourism and Culture at the official ceremony in the national capital of Belmopan, called on Belizeans to take this year’s national theme of “Industrious Hands, Intelligent Minds, Together for Belize” to heart.

“Let us not just seek the solutions, let us be the solution,” Ms Haylock said.

Other speakers, including Prime Minister Dean Barrow and leader of the opposition Francis Fonseca, also elaborated on the national theme, calling for unity of purpose in light of recent world events.

In his address, Prime Minister Barrow echoed the national theme and called upon Belizeans to maintain the unity that fuelled their drive towards independence and warned about “Superficially concentrating on the relatively small things that divide us, while ignoring the big things that unite us…” in this famously multicultural nation.

While the official ceremonies were held in Belmopan, celebrations, parades, pageants and special events, including the biggest carnival yet were held in towns and villages around the country and on the small islands, or cayes, along Belize’s Great Barrier Reef.

Ms Fleming said that while the scale of events such as the carnival, which this year attracted hundreds of performers and thousands of spectators, had increased dramatically, the crowds were well behaved.

“Belizeans love a party, and this is the biggest party of the year, so it does get quite boisterous, but in a jovial, ‘let the good times roll’ sort of way. Independence brought so many positive changes to Belize, including a higher standard of living with the growth of eco-tourism, that people are grateful and generally optimistic about the future.

“You really see that reflected in the September celebrations,” she said.

The Lodge at Chaa Creek is an award winning eco resort set within a 365 acre private nature reserve in Belize.


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Mark Langan

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