The Battle of St. George’s Caye turns 215 years old this year and for the fifth consecutive year the official launch took place on the little island where Belize was born, St George’s Caye. Belize’s first Capital lies eight miles east of Belize City and guests had to travel by boat to arrive at the location. In welcoming the gathering village chairman John Searle Jr. said there is something Belizean in all of us.
John Searle Jr – St George’s Caye Village Chairman:
As the chairman of the St. George’s Caye Village Council, it’s my honor and privilege to welcome you to St. George’s Caye for the opening ceremonies of the September Celebrations. As I look around I see many familiar faces and I see a few new ones but the one thing I saw in everyone’s face this morning as I greeted everyone, was that they have this joy and happiness in them that’s Belize. I’m not sure, I can’t put my finger on exactly what it is, or even if it’s one single thing but I think it’s a number of factors that come together when you are here in Belize. Even the visitors that come to Belize see it and they feel it too and if they stay for a while, they get it too, because it’s contagious. It doesn’t take too long for someone to be in Belize to get it. Maybe some of the council core and diplomatic core might even have it already. I know for sure that the Baymen had it, my wife who’s from the United States, I know she’s got it too, because I hear it every day when she says ‘morning’ and perhaps it’s the smiles and friendliness of the people. Perhaps it’s something in the water, or in the rice and beans and chicken, or in the sea breeze, but for sure everyone in Belize has that special something that makes us uniquely Belizean and therefore, the theme of this year’s September celebrations, ‘Belize in you, Belize in me, Land of the Free’, fits in very well. There is something else that makes the theme fit in, as we celebrate the 32nd anniversary of our independence, and the 215th anniversary of the Battle of St. George’s Caye, that is because our journey to ‘Land of the Free’, started right here at St. George’s Caye. So today as we celebrate the opening of the September Celebrations, take a look around and tell me if you don’t see it, and if you don’t feel it, ‘Belize in you, Belize in me, Land of the free’.
Minister of Tourism and Culture Manuel Heredia Jr. told us why the tradition and pomp of the two major holidays celebrated in this month still matter.
It’s more like a tradition that we hold high. The activities that are planned, a calendar of events every year, is like a tradition or repetition of what is done every year. Other municipalities or other places will tend a little different things like that, but it’s almost a repetition of what we have every year.