On Thursday night at the Governor General’s Field in Belmopan, Rotary International hosted the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee Beacon Lighting ceremony. The five-hour event which began around six p.m. concluded around eleven p.m. and featured speeches from Acting G.G. Stuart Leslie, as well as cultural performances, local food and drinks and arts and crafts on sale. News Five’s Duane Moody has a recap of the public event.
Duane Moody, Reporting
Rotary in Belize had the honor of coordinating the efforts which added Belize to the list of Commonwealth countries participating in “The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee Beacons. The celebratory event which showcased Belize’s culture and its people, it was about showing appreciation for the unprecedented long reign of Queen Elizabeth II. A proclamation was read and it concluded with the lighting of the beacon at 9:15 p.m.
Sharon Palacio, Belmopan Mayor
“It is in honor of this unique occasion that beacons will be lit this evening throughout the United Kingdom, the Talon Islands, the Isle of Man and the UK Overseas Territories and in all the capital cities of the Commonwealth. Let it be known in proclaiming this tribute to her majesty the Queen on her platinum jubilee that we are one nation and one commonwealth – God Save the Queen.”
Long before the Queen, a beacon chain was used as a tool of communication over vast distances. But over the years, it has become a symbol of unity. British High Commissioner Claire Evans was a speaker at the official ceremony.
Claire Evans, British High Commissioner
“More than three thousand beacons have already lit up the night sky in tribute to the Queen. In the UK, a network of flaming beacons have stretched across the country, starting from outside of Buckingham Palace and even included one lit by the Queen herself in front of Winsor Castle. And for the very first time, a beacon is being lit in each of the capital cities of the Commonwealth nations.”
“The event is recognition of a truly remarkable woman who has given seventy years of service to the people of United Kingdom, to the realms and to the Commonwealth. The last seventy years have seen tremendous change – much of it not easy, but throughout the Queen has been a source of continuity and stability. Her extraordinary reign, she is the longest serving monarch in British history.”
Belize was the final beacon in the Commonwealth beacon chain. Acting Governor General and Cabinet Secretary, Stuart Leslie says it is a celebration of who we are.
Stuart Leslie, Acting Governor General
“Forty-nine years ago last night your worship, Belmopan became a reality. That was a full almost twenty years or twenty-one years after her majesty ascended to the throne in the United Kingdom. And look at what Belmopan has become today, look at the beautiful children, look at the beautiful people. Two generations since then of Belizeans who have grown up in a country that appreciates and loves democracy. Why? Because of the tradition that was passed down to us.”