You know me can't memba.. Someone made a comment about a girl being in the US Arny and I was saying that as long as she is benefiting from it, there is no need to say bad things about the girl.. Like why she gwan in the US Army.
National leaders reflect on 25 yrs. of independence
On Thursday, official ceremonies commemorating Belize's twenty-fifth Independence took place in simultaneous events across the country. In the old capital, Prime Minister Said Musa, National Hero George Price, Leader of the Opposition Dean Barrow and other parliamentary officials were joined by a host of diplomatic representatives, including the President of Panama Martin Torrijos, at the Memorial Park for an open air tribute to the country's historic milestone. During the occasion, Torrijos presented one of Panama's highest honours to Price. At the same time, Torrijos received the Order of Belize on behalf of his late father, Omar Torrijos. In his address to the gathering, Prime Minister Musa called on Belizeans to see hope on the nation's horizon.
Said Musa, Prime Minister of Belize
“Yes our nation has grown significantly these past twenty-five years. Independence has indeed brought more development and growth to Belize. Admittedly, that growth has been uneven and today about a third of our people are classified as poor. That is why I said in the State of the Nation Address on Monday that “Freedom from want for those living at the margins of society is still our great challenge.” Our goal now is to build a fairer, gentler society--a society of social justice, where the fruits of development are spread more equitably with opportunity for all to work and prosper in a secure future. In conferring on Omar Torrijos, posthumously, the Order of Belize, let us, like Omar, look beyond the horizon, beyond the immediate troubles and strife. And I must say that today is neither the day, nor the place to engage in political recriminations. Let us look beyond and discern a brighter day, a better future, confident that, in the words of another great leader of our region, Un mundo mejor es possible--a better world is possible. On this day, which has been declared a day of peace by the United Nations, we all know that a better world is possible, but that possibility can only be realized if we are united as Belizeans to work together for that better future.”
For Leader of the Opposition, the poetry, promise, and patriotism of the September celebrations are tempered by the challenges facing Belize.
Dean Barrow, Leader of the Opposition
“As we pay tribute to those that worked for Independence and the sun crowned achievement that in the end is still so clearly is, we know this, there is no way our ceremony can be merely an orgy of self congratulation. Twenty-five years on, we must still plan to finally secure and make good on the auguries of that first Independence Day. And in order effectively to do this we must reflect on the defects and the merits of where we currently are. For surely, if all were well with our world, the twenty-fifth anniversary of our Independence would not be a time to wondering if our economy will in fact collapse under the massive meltdown of our external debt. We would not be undergoing the trauma of yet another public inquiry into official corruption and we would not be lamenting the disappearance of standards from elected leaders, the creation of a governance culture in which anything goes and considerations of honesty are dismissed as restrictions only for the timid. I speak of these things so that I may urge us all to grasp the nettle with all the first twenty-five years of our independence has served to confirm the greatness of our potential. But time is never on the side of mortals, and what a tragedy if after the next twenty-five years it would still be said of us that only that our potential remains great.”
When Belize City Mayor Zenaida Moya took her turn at the microphone, she reminded residents to be vigilant in ensuring democracy.
Zenaida Moya, Mayor of Belize City
“But while there is much to celebrate, there is certainly much to contemplate. Twenty-five years are behind us and they have not been all good. Now another twenty-five years are before us. The stakes are higher and the challenges are greater. So let us not sit contented with what we have accomplished, rather, let us stand inspired by what we have achieved and what remains to be achieved. Our city expects better, our country deserves better, our people fresh from March first polls are demanding better. And herein lies our hope, that this young nation, which has progressed tremendously over the past twenty-five years, will make even greater progress in the next twenty-five years.”
Over three hours - that's how long it took for a massive September 21st parade to snake its way through the city yesterday. We don't know who's keeping score, but that must be some kind of record! The mammoth event put a fitting end on a memorable September season that saw great community participation in the city. 7NEWS camera-men were front row for all the Independence Day - and eve - activities, and we put them together for you - starting with the fireworks on the 20th night.
Jules Vasquez Reporting,
The fireworks show was scheduled at 9:00 pm, early enough for children to see it. And they got to see plenty - as for the first time, two sets of fireworks were launched simultaneously from barges in two different locations. It was a breath-taking show and it went for 25 minutes from each barge with a massive crowd, lining the Marine Parade got to see it all as it lit up the Caribbean Sea, culminating in a dazzling crescendo.
After the fireworks subsided diplomatic guests and dignitaries arrived to see the Belize flag raised for the 25th tie at a midnight countdown.
[Countdown at Midnight]
And from that powerful image at midnight to 9:00 o' clock the next morning when the BDF band would again set the tone.
Torrijos was the special guest of honor at the Independence Day ceremony. His father General Omar Torrijos was the only Central American head of state that supported Belizean independence against Guatemala's wished. In their addresses both Opposition Leader Dean Barrow and Prime Minister Said Musa commented on the elder Torrijos's contribution:
Hon. Dean Barrow, Leader of the Opposition
"By way of his coming, we should also honor his father today. The courage, vision, and principle of General Torrijos cannot be overstated. He defied an entire continent in breaking with the tradition of Hispanibad, the solidarity of the Spanish speaking countries of Latin America that have compelled all of them to stand with Guatemala and against Belize. Without a doubt, leadership of Omar Torrijos was one of the signaled development in the international diplomatic press that eventually secured the independence of our country."
Rt. Hon. Said Musa, Prime Minister
"In 1975, all the countries of Central America, including Panama, had signed a declaration supporting Guatemala 's pretensions to Belizean territory. But once Torrijos learnt the true facts about Belize and of our struggle to be neither British nor Guatemalan but Belizean, he gave all his support to our cause. He first announced this at the Non-Aligned Summit in 1976, and then had Panama vote for the Belize resolution in the United Nations. This was a fatal blow to Guatemala 's hitherto solid support from Latin America, and its military government, at the time, recognized this when it broke diplomatic relations with Panama because of its support for Belize."
Rt. Hon. George Price, Former Prime Minister
"General Omar Torrijos, your father, was a great friend of Belize. He and Panama led other Latin American nations forward. They voted at the United Nations for the Independence of Belize."
With his father's contribution to Belize's independence properly framed, President Martin Torrijos was conferred with the Order of Belize, a posthumous honor on behalf of his father. He reciprocated by giving his country's highest honor to Belize's national hero George Price.
President Martin Torrijos, Panama
"He is a leader that will forever be regarded as one of the founding fathers of Belize and one of the greatest liberators of our continent. Omar Torrijos admired him very much, so does the Panamanian people. His name is a symbol of honesty and dignity. He chose to fulfill this continent's dream of freedom and justice, giving no consideration to his political forthcoming."
And while the political leaders agreed on the Torrijos contribution - that was about all they agreed on.
Hon. Dean Barrow,
"There is no way our ceremony can be merely an orgy of self-congratulation. A walk on the south side of Belize City, or any of the corresponding areas of our district towns, quickly reveals our extremely troubling social and infrastructural urban rot. There are people mocked and provoked each day by the endless television images of plenty that are hopelessly confined to the margins, utterly unable to insert themselves into the mainstreams of our society. We seem to be failing at making the proper investments in education and help yet the taxes are merciless and the cost of living out of control.
…The lawlessness that too easily takes its toll in the killing zones of Collet, Lake I, and Port Loyola while those in the more affluent neighborhoods spend ever more on their burglar bars, alarms, and security guards. For surely, if all were well with out world, the 25th anniversary of our independence would not be a time to be wondering if our economy will in fact collapse under the massive meltdown of our external debt. We would not be undergoing trauma of yet another public inquiry into official corruption and we would not be lamenting the disappearance of standards from elected leaders; the creation of a governance culture in which anything goes and considerations of honesty are dismissed as restrictions only for the timid."
Zenaida Moya, Mayor of Belize City
"Prolonged civil unrest just over a year ago is conclusive evidence of a worn out political system. Our political system must be reformed because the ongoing public inquiries forced by unions, businesses, students, and general citizen protests are proof positive that never again will Belizeans allow our political leaders to abuse and misuse public funds with such impunity.
Even as we celebrate our independence, the autonomy of the elected Belize City Council is being undermined by a Central Government that seems intent on keeping the City Council from gaining its rightful share of revenues from the cruise tourism."
Rt. Hon. Said Musa,
"And I must say today is neither the time or the place to engage in political refeminations."
But in a speech that looked mostly away from Belize, Musa did admit there are problems.
Rt. Hon. Said Musa,
"Admittedly that growth has been uneven and today about a third of our people are classified as poor. That is why I said in the State of the Nation address on Monday that freedom from want for those living on the margins of society is still our great challenge. Our goal now must be to build a fairer, gentler society. A society of social justice where the fruits of development are spread more equitably with the opportunity for all to work and prosper in a secure future."
And with the speeches done, it was unto the street where the PUP led the official parade. And while the PUP encouraged church leaders to join as a show of national unity, it had also asked the Opposition, but Barrow and his party declined; they had their own contingent.
And while the politicians carried the front - students, floats, and citizens filled out a parade that would prove to be one of the longest ever - as it recorded unprecedented participation. Perhaps most remarkably, the tail of it was crossing the foot of the Swing Bridge when the front had already reached the Yarborough Green! A full and fitting end to what has been a memorably patriotic September season.
The tail of the parade reached the Yabra Green just after 3:00 pm.