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#447089 09/21/12 05:49 AM
Joined: Oct 1999
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Marty Offline OP
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Have a safe and FUN holiday!

Joined: Oct 1999
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Marty Offline OP
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September 21 - what do we celebrate?

On Friday, September 21, Belize celebrates its 31st anniversary of independence from Great Britain.

All our neighbours, beginning with Mexico in the north to Nicaragua and Costa Rica in the south, were ruled by Spain. Only Mexico fought Spain for its independence, but like all its neighbours, with the exception of Belize and Costa Rica, suffered through a civil war to cement that independence.

We all know what are normally the main causes of civil wars - perceived injustices of one group of citizens against the other, sometimes ethnic, sometimes political, sometimes a combination of both, and there is always bloodshed, no matter who wins the war.

Mexico's war of independence from Spain lasted from 1810 to 1821, while the Caste War of Yucat�n, in which the native Maya people of Yucat�n fought against the population of European descent, called Yucatecos, who held political and economic control of the region, lasted from 1847 to 1901.

Honduras, home to several important indigenous cultures, most notably the Maya, became independent in 1821. Much of the country had been conquered by Spain, which ruled it for about 300 years; and in the ensuing 191 years since independence, nearly 300 small internal rebellions and civil wars have occurred in the country.

Guatemala became independent from Spain in 1821, but the late 20th century saw the country embroiled in a 36-year-long civil war that reportedly saw 200,000 persons killed - many of whom just disappeared.

El Salvador also declared its independence from Spain in 1821, and experienced numerous revolutions and wars against other Central American republics. From 1931 to 1979 El Salvador was ruled by a series of military dictatorships, and also suffered a 12-year civil war.

As an aside, in 1969, El Salvador invaded Honduras after Honduran landowners deported several thousand Salvadorans. The four-day war became known as the "football war" because it broke out during a soccer game between the two countries.

Nicaragua too achieved its independence from Spain in 1821, but it has since undergone periods of political unrest, dictatorship, and fiscal crisis-the most notable causes that led to the Nicaraguan Revolution of the 1960s and 1970s.

Costa Rica, like its neighbours in Central America, never fought for independence from Spain, an independence it received on September 15, 1821. But unlike nearly all its neighbours, and like Belize, it never had a civil war.

So, Belize, without shedding a drop of blood in either a civil war or in fighting for its independence, celebrates its anniversary on Friday. This is not to say that meaningful independence cannot be achieved without bloodshed, but we must make the salient point that compared to the rest, Belize has been an oasis of peace since her independence.

But the question is now pertinent: after 31 years of ruling ourselves, what do we celebrate? The Prime Minister's Independence Day address will no doubt be a message of "hope." He will catalogue the accomplishments of his government, gloss over his failures and predict a rosy future - and the rank-and-file will clap and stand in line to shake his hand.

But such have been all our Independence Day addresses, which some consider to be the Prime Minister's most important address of the year.

In the real world, however, what do we celebrate? The truth of the matter is that criminals and narco-traffickers commit murder with seeming impunity, effectively putting the nation's largest city under siege; poverty now sits at 43 percent; the cost of living has skyrocketed; many of our nation's children go hungry; the cost of education has risen to crippling heights; we are faced with the repayment of a billion-dollar super-bond, courtesy of a corrupt past administration; political corruption and corruption in high places continue to eat away at our scarce natural and financial resources; wishy-washy government policies allow Guatemalans almost a free hand at our western border - they continue to steal our precious xate and our gold; our pristine forests are being decimated by illegal logging; our protected wildlife continue to be killed for food, and the list could go on.

The "real" is that this is what Belizeans face after 31 years of independence, of governing ourselves. We have opined in previous editorials that the real heroes of our independence would "turn over in their graves" if they could see what their beloved Belize has become, because of bumbling, inept, self-aggrandizing politicians on both sides.

Belize, it seems today, has become somewhat of a painful place to live, despite our tradition of peace. Yes, the pain a single mother feels when she cannot put enough food on the table for her children, when she cannot meet her monthly bills, when she cannot buy the necessary school books for her children because education has become so expensive, when her children are sick and she cannot afford the medicines, is very real pain - nothing that rhetorical political speeches can assuage.

In this discussion, it has to be recognized that crime has become perhaps the single most important issue of the day. Our young men are killing each other, and they do not discriminate. They kill innocent citizens with equal readiness and heartlessness.

The "real" on crime statistics is that each year now, on average, 120-plus persons, mostly young men, are murdered. There are cold-blooded criminals walking free on our streets, and their numbers seem to increase almost from month to month; while the deadly crimes go unpunished, our government, without consulting the people, has ceased to hang murderers.

Despite all these terrible things, however, we feel that the Belizean people, by and large, are good people, friendly, intelligent, hardworking and ambitious. And we have love for one another, despite the seeming mayhem. We also believe that better will come. When, we cannot say for sure, but we know that to tolerate much worse is unthinkable.

If we think about it, perhaps the blood running in our streets is our "civil war," our test of not so much where we are right now, but how badly we want a better future for our children and grandchildren. We really believe that no one would deliberately choose to live under siege, being shot in our places of business, being afraid to venture out after dark, and to live in fear of our lives in our very own homes.

Criminals and crime have impacted our economy to the point where our government cannot collect the revenue it should, because too many businesses in the old capital have closed down - their owners are tired of being robbed, and many have been shot to death in such robberies. The ruling politicians continue, meanwhile, to "play games," refusing to appoint an outsider as a commissioner of police to deal with manifest corruption in the ranks of the police department.

We all want a better life after 31 years of so-called political and economic independence, but we have to fight for it, in the same way that the heroes of so many revolutions fought for a better life. Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, Belizeans all, mere speeches will achieve nothing much. Words are like the wind, and so are promises.

That is what the celebration of our 31st anniversary of Independence should be about for our people - recognizing where we have failed, and seriously planning for a better future.

And mark our words: not only will these things not be given to us freely, but it is a battle that must be fought by the people, and not politicians, who traditionally have resisted any change not connected to the enlargement of their personal wealth.

We have spoken. All power to the people.


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Marty Offline OP
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26 Tips and Tricks To Get The Most of This Independence Day

Belize turns 31 today. In order for you to get the most of this Independence day, we have come up with a list of quick tips, tricks and guides. Here goes nothing:

  1. Don't miss the flag raising ceremony/fireworks ( September 20 @ Independence Plaza -- 11:45 PM).
  2. Don't miss the Official Independence Day Ceremony ( starts @ 10:00 AM in Independence Plaza,).
  3. Don't miss the Jump Up (Devon Beaton Park @ 1:00 PM to 12:00 AM).
  4. Come out from early to see the Citizen's parade ( anytime before 11:00 AM, around the Ring Road to Devon Beaton Park).
  5. Carry along a camera.
  6. A radio would be helpful.
  7. If you are driving, ensure that you are driving with precaution and park in areas that are safe. (Early birds get the best parking spots).
  8. Make sure you have plenty of water with you, an ice box full with beverages and ice is advised.
  9. Don't forget your water bottles.
  10. Hats and caps are advised.
  11. Nothing too hot is recommended especially in these hot days. ( a white shirt for men, a cool blouse for women).
  12. Carry along plenty of sun screen to avoid sun burns.
  13. If you have any umbrellas make sure to carry them along with you, in case of rain.
  14. A pair of sun glasses would help to avoid irritation of the eyes from the sun.
  15. Don't drink and drive.
  16. If you carry along alcoholic beverages make sure to use disposable cups in public.
  17. Keep an eye on your children at all times.
  18. Avoid any brawls and inform the Authorities of any troublemakers.
  19. If you see a fight inform the Authorities immediately.
  20. Being close to a police officer can guarantee you better safety.
  21. Don't carry along too much money -- some people tend to misplace or loose wallets and purses. (The thief never sleeps).
  22. Avoid eating too much fast foods ( a little of everything is good, but don't abuse it).
  23. Food is expensive out there, so if you can prepare a few picnic sandwiches, it can save you a few pennies.
  24. Carry along a roll or two of toilet paper in case of bathroom emergencies.
  25. A Health Kit can save you an unwanted trip to the hospital.
  26. Carry along some portable plastic chairs, if you have any ( there is rarely anywhere good to sit)

I-Belmopan BLog

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Belize is 31!!! Happy Independence day to all Belizeans at home and abroad!!

Many Faces, Many Dreams, one Goal - Celebrating Belize!

Celebration time in Belize comes again in the month of September and every year brings a new and different experience. And just as it is every year, the country brings the many faces of beautiful Belize together to display our colors, culture, history, music and with one goal; to celebrate Belize.

After a night of pomp and circumstance, complete with block party, good food, music and fireworks, everyone was eagerly anticipating the big Jump-Up Parade through the principal streets of San Pedro. This year's parade was certainly full of color and energy - with gorgeous floats, costumes and happy dancers! We will let the photos speak for themselves - enjoy the gallery below!!

Click here to read the rest of the article and see TONS more KILLER photos in the San Pedro Sun

Joined: Dec 2006
Posts: 1,046
Amazing. Amazing. Amazing. The parade rocked.

I can't believe SP Sun went thru their pictures that fast.

Joined: Feb 2004
Posts: 2,208
Great scoop! Loved it.
Belize Wedding Photography

Joined: Dec 2006
Posts: 1,046
We mashed it up this year.

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Marty Offline OP
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Joined: Dec 2006
Posts: 1,046
My part two...things started to get a bit hazy...

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Marty Offline OP
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There are I am surprised to say: SEVEN steel bands in the country of Belize. I believe they are in Belmopan the capital and the port of Belize City. They played for INDEPENDENCE DAY.

I tuned in quite by accident on Saturday and caught a replay, of the steel bands. The first one, was the Pantempters, I believe? Either I'm getting too old, or they seemed SO YOUNG. Some of the kids in the front row, were really bouncing with the rythmm of the music they were playing. Probably not more than between 12 and 16 years old. I had to hide my face from my wife when she came in to see what I was watching on TV. My eyes were just brimming tears, ( it didn't seem manly somehow ) with joy and pride in what is happening in Belize. I know how long it takes to produce a band, having been a cornet player in one at age 16 years. The delight was in seeing them bobbing and weaving with the rythmm as they played with all their hearts. What I loved, was when one girl, who would take a quick glance at a neighboring friend and then both would break out in a GRIN of unadulterated JOY. It was so uplifting and HAPPY.

We seem to get nothing but a steady message of a BAD BELIZE on the media TV out of the port. Gory killings, gang bangers, robbers, burglaries, muggings. This music by these seven steel bands, put the lie to the message the PORT TOWN TV media are sending us in the other districts, about life in Belize. Those kids, are going to remember this chapter in their lives until they die. I know I do! Nor are they going to be troublesome kids or adults. Well rounded kids, having learned the lesson, that results and success come from constant perseverance in whatever challenges and endeavors you face through life. ALL can be achieved if you want it enough. Damned, I was so PROUD of this generation of Belizean youth.

Ray Auxillou, Western Belize Happenings

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