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#495643 - 09/12/14 09:33 AM $14 mil downtown cultural museum project announced  
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$14 million cultural renaissance project was announced on the occasion of the St. George’s Caye Day celebrations by chairman of the National Celebrations Commission, Hon. Manuel Heredia, Jr., Minister of Tourism, Culture and Civil Aviation.

In his address on Wednesday morning, September 10, Heredia said that the multi-million-dollar project will be spearheaded by his ministry, working in collaboration with the National Institute of Culture and History, and the Belize City Council.

The project will entail the rehabilitation of colonial resources in what he described as the old, historic downtown of Belize City, he said.

The former Government House, now known as the House of Culture, will become the National Colonial M useum of Belize.

Heredia said that the plan is to renovate important public and historic areas in downtown Belize City, and some of these renovation projects have already been commenced by the Belize City Council.

He added that under the project, there will also be a robust community, oral history program, which will permit the rekindling of stories and the recounting of events of the nation’s earlier beginnings.


#495769 - 09/17/14 05:09 AM Re: $14 mil downtown cultural museum project announced [Re: Marty]  
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Artist Calls “Colonial Museum” Concept Offensive

In his address on the Tenth of September, Minister of Tourism Junior Heredia made a major announcement: a 3 year $40 million project spearheaded by the Ministry of Tourism and Culture, NICH and the Belize City Council for the rehabilitation of quote, "Colonial resources" within…the old historic downtown of Belize City." End quote.

He added that under the project, quote, "the Belize City House of Culture will be transformed and established as the national Colonial Museum of Belize."

Well that has stirred the ire of one well known cultural activist and artist. Former NICH President Yasser Musa has sent an open letter challenging the designation of a colonial museum.

He calls it quote, "retrograde, racist and disturbing…"

He says it shows, quote "rank disrespect to our resistance heritage." End quote.

So, we asked the Belize City Mayor about it today - since the city council is part of the project:

Darrel Bradley, Mayor - Belize City
"I do not believe that there is any distinguishing feature in terms of the House of Culture as saying that it will be a museum only for one purpose. We have a significant amount of heritage in Belize. We have a significant amount of heritage in Belize City and the objective of that structure when renovated will be to develop a long what the House of Culture has been doing for the last 10 years; promoting Belizean culture and history. It so happens that the House of Culture is in Belize City and one of the assets that we have discuss that is very present in Belize City is the colonial history. Belize City is a hub because it was first after St, George's Caye, the first mega-city in terms of the colonial history of the entire country, so that when you are showcasing Belize City you can't ignore the fact that we endured that period of our history and there is some merit in wanting to showcase that, but I don't think that the Honorable Minister was saying that to the exclusion of other aspects of our history. I have tremendous respect for Yasser Musa as an artist, as a civic activist and as somebody who brings tremendous value to a discussion like this and his perspective is very important and very useful and I don't think that there is any closing down of that project to say that well it must be this or it must be that. What we want to do is to showcase and highlight the great culture of our Belizean society including our colonial history but also embracing our Mayan, Mestizo or Garifuna history and we have never been closed minded or uni-cultural in our approach. If that was the message I know that that was not the intention of the Honorable Minister."

The project, as we understand it, will be funded by the Taiwanese.

Channel 7

#496047 - 09/25/14 04:57 AM Re: $14 mil downtown cultural museum project announced [Re: Marty]  
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Hon. Francis Uncomfortable But Not Completely Opposed To NICH Project

And keeping it on the subject of culture, last week Friday we asked Opposition Leader Francis Fonseca to state his position on the so – called Colonial Museum that Tourism Minister Manuel Herredia announced on the Tenth of September. Artist and former NICH President Yasser Musa called it quote, “retrograde, racist and disturbing.” He called on the opposition to reject the project. But when we spoke to Fonseca last week he supported Musa, but didn’t reject the project:…

Francis Fonseca, Leader of Opposition

“I completely agree with Yasir, it’s a fool hardy decision. I have not obviously been briefed on the project by the government or by the ministry of tourism or culture but certainly I know as a former minister of culture that is not the direction in which we wanted to take culture. So we don’t support that project at all but we have to hear more about it and I’m prepared to hear more about it before offering any further criticism of the project.”

In his speech, Heredia said quote, “the current Belize City House of Culture will be transformed and established as the national Colonial Museum of Belize.” NICH has since sent out a dense two page release saying, that, among many other things in downtown Belize City, the project will focus on quote, “The refurbishment of the House of Culture and the design of an interpretative exhibition within the House which tells the story of the historic past, Belize’s Cultures as well our Story of Resistance including Emancipation and Independence Movements.”

Channel 7

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