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As a part of this year's September celebration activities, the National Celebrations Commission established the "Belize @ 40 Prize", which are awards created to celebrate and honour past and present Belizean creatives.

The awards recognized achievements in culture, heritage and arts. The prizes were as follows:

� The Zee Edgell Prize for Literary Arts to Evan X Hyde
� The Andy Palacio Prize for Belizean Music to Lucio Alcoser Sr.
� The Don Elijio Panti Prize for the Protection and Development of Traditional Knowledge to Florencia Castillo
� The George Gabb Prize for Visual Arts to Fernando Cruz
� The Rosita Baltazar Prize for Dance to Althea Sealy
� The Leela Vernon Prize for Creative Community Action and Safeguarding Cultural Heritage to Leonides Sanchez
� The Beverly Smith Lopez Prize for Acting in Theatre and Film to Leroy Green

Hon. Francis Fonseca, Chairman of the National Celebrations Commission, delivered the keynote address. He stated that for too long the creative work of Belizeans have gone unnoticed and it is time for change. He added that the goal is "to honour and celebrate the best of who and what Belize is."

More photos:

Belize @ 40 Grants Award Ceremony