Tuesday, September 10 marked the 215th anniversary of the Battle of St. George’s Caye in 1798 and official ceremonies marking the commemoration of the event took place in Belize City at the Memorial Park. The event saw the official attendance of Belize’s key leaders such as Governor General Sir Colville Young, Prime Minister Dean Barrow, Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin and Leader of the Opposition Francis Fonseca, as well as the usual number of patriotic Belizeans decked out in red, white and blue on a cloudy morning. Keynote speaker was City Councilor Bernard Pitts who deputized for Belize City Mayor Darrell Bradley. Councilor Pitts said that in the Baymen’s commitment to defend the territory they called home, they established the blueprint for the modern Belizean.
But for today, let us not walk away without acknowledging and transcending the true spitits of the settlers of the Bay. These settlers were determined and dedicated in the defense of our homeland. A greater image of patriotism can never be conjured. The Battle of St George’s Caye was physically fought, but it would never have resulted favourably iof the positive aspects of human nature were not present. The Baymen created the blueprint of what the ideal Belizean should be. Flowing in our veins are unity, strength, neighbourly love, charity, love of country, and community building.
Minister for Tourism and chair of the September Celebrations Committee, Manuel Heredia Jr., elaborated further on the idea of nation-building and the character traits traced back to the first settlers.
Such a society pays tribute to those who labored to lay the foundation for a developing society. In this way, may we continue to hold firm to the resolve of our ancestors to embrace the challenges and opportunities we now enjoy as a free country. May the persistence of the Baymen continue to guide us. May their courage continue to inspire us, and may their resilience continue to empower us to become true nation builders.
Following the installation of the new Queen of the Bay Jahrine Avila of Toledo by outgoing queen Yadira Argueta, and performances by National Song Competition winners Jael August and Nello Player, the crowd at the Memorial Park departed for the Yarborough Area in the traditional Citizen’s Parade followed by the City Council’s annual multicultural fair.