A Belize National History Association BHA was recently formed in Belmopan. It is an attempt to gather Belize’s collective memory and to encompass as many people as possible. To begin that process, several members of BHA have been elected to the Executive Board at the George Price Center for Peace and Development. Having evolved from a National History Commission, the BHA has now gained the services of Francis Humphreys as Chairman, Gian Vasquez as Vice Chairman, Myrna Manzanares as Senior Member and Ifasina Efunyemi as Junior Member. Also elected to the Executive of the BHA was Fred Hunter as a Senior Member.
The new Executive Board to the Belize History Association is now tasked as a semi-autonomous body to chart the way forward to improve the scholarship of Belizean History and come up with a strategic plan by April of this year, which will guide their collective work during the next two years. Meanwhile; the long term plan of BHA is to put together and write a general History of Belize.
With support from its membership and the National Institute of Culture and History NICH, BHA is now poised to become a legally established entity. However; much ground work has to continue to make the BHA a sustainable movement.
“We will begin the work of doing supporting research on various topics in Belizean History, to conduct public lectures, to conduct workshops, to conduct capacity building among the institutional members,” says Nigel Encalada, the Director of the Institute for Social and Cultural Research ISCR, a vibrant arm mandated by the NICH Act of 2000 to conduct and supervise socio economic, cultural and anthropological research in Belize.
“In addition to the support that NICH will provide, the Association [BHA] and their executive will also have the responsibility to write proposals, to submit proposals, to acquire grants for the activities,” he also said.
Now at the helm of this major BHA enterprise is Francis Humphreys, who first showed his grasp of Belizean history as a young man during his time at the Belize Teacher’s College and then as a contributor to the Belizean Studies Series, A Journal of Social Research and Thought.
“[BHA] will be a very positive and very productive element in our Nation’s existence, it encompasses the entire Nation, it is something that will branch out and reach out into every community,” says Francis Humphreys.
“We want to retrieve the Nation’s History so that in the end when we undertake the monumental task of writing a comprehensive history of this Country, nothing will be left out…all will be counted as part of the collective memory of our country,” he asserted.
The next meeting of the Executive Members of the Belize History Association is on February 26, 2014 at the George Price Center, where protocols for meetings will be established. Those wishing to become members of the BHA can still do so by calling 822-3307, where a form can be requested. The annual membership fee to the BHA is $20.00 (The form can also be e-mailed to those interested in becoming members of the BHA.).The Guardian