“Belizeans: People of the Reef” is the theme for the first ever Reef Week being celebrated from March 18 to 24. Formal launch took place last night and Minister of Fisheries Lisel Alamilla gave full government support to the initiative.
Lisel Alamilla – Minister of Fisheries:
I thought from the first time I heard that it was quite an excellent idea. Usually we have Water Day, we have Earth Day, we have celebration of our Forests, but we don’t have anything that really celebrates the Reef. And so I thought it was quite ingenious of the group that got together to organize this event.
Belize’s reef forms four-fifths of the Meso-American Barrier Reef System stretching from Mexico to Honduras. Roberto Pott of Healthy Reefs Initiative describes how beneficial it has been:
Roberto Pott – Healthy Reefs Initiative:
For us, the Reef has been what we think is the foundation for both our economy as well as our culture, and that’s why the theme is so fitting, “Belizeans, People of the Reef.” So that’s why we had to jump on the opportunity to continue to maintain and even raise the profile of the Belize Barrier Reef, in Belize, with Belizeans.
There are a number of activities planned and according to Oceana’s Audrey Matura Shepherd the highlight will be a first ever Sea Carnival on Palm Sunday, March 24.
Audrey Matura Shepherd – Oceana:
One of the highlights, definitely, is gonna be Sunday. Sunday people always have parades, and you hear about Carnival for September, well this is going to be a Sea Parade Carnival, where there will be literally floats floating. So people have their boats. We’re still asking people to join. Come if you have a boat, just come and join in. It’s only gonna be like one hour. We gonna leave the Fort George Pier, we’re gonna go around, and we’re gonna come back. That would be the main thing. That would be starting from 1 p.m., but at the same time the Fair will be going on, and the Fair is at San Cas Park. Many people don’t know the new name, but it’s the park just across from Baron Bliss Grave. What we’ll be having there is definitely a lot of food, drinks, there’s gonna be a great band. Sweet Cane will be there, Stone Jam, and a variety of other DJs. We’ll also going to have special games for the family. One of the highlights definitely, we’re going to have a swimsuit modeling competition. Now this is a family event, so we don’t want people to be vulgar. Come, bring your shades, strut your things, model your swimsuit.
Reef Week is expected to become an annual event.