Ambergris Caye celebrates Belize's Independenca - "Proud and Strong at 21"

The Island Newspaper, Ambergris Caye, Belize            Vol. 12, No. 37            September 26, 2002

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Young Belizeans express their patriotism during Independence Day
San Pedro Lion Queens and members during parade
San Pedro Police join San Pedro Marching Band during parade
Miss San Pedro Lions Queen Debbie Ann with past Lions Queens
Mr. Alan Forman escorts Miss San Pedro

Jovial and ecstatic Belizeans throughout the nation celebrated with joy and enthusiasm the 21st anniversary of Belize's independence. Residents of "La Isla Bonita" also took pride in celebrating this year's festivities which was considered by many as "one of the best ever"!

    On the eve of Belize's independence, Friday, September 20th the festivities began on Front Street with a block party. The entire length of Barrier Reef Drive was blocked to vehicular traffic and transformed into "Party Central" for all those looking for a good time. Business establishments from around the island temporarily "camped" on this street, treating locals and visitors to cold drinks and tasty treats. Prior to the official ceremonies, local dance groups entertained the flocks of people gathered at Central Park for the countdown of Belize's 21st anniversary.

    The sounds of the San Pedro High School drummers announced the arrival of Miss San Pedro 2002-2003 Jenine Haylock to Central Park. Escorted by Mr. Alan Forman, Miss San Pedro was joined by the lovely young ladies of the San Pedro Dance Company. The large crowd then witnessed the arrival of Mayor Alberto Nuñez and town councilors, followed by Area Representative Patty Arceo, Justices of the Peace and Commissioners of the Supreme Court. Just minutes before midnight, 21 torches were carried into the park by members of the San Pedro Scouts Association. The Belize Defense Force then made its grand entrance. Mayor Alberto Nuñez and Area Representative Arceo then performed an official inspection of the Guard of Honor prior to the raising of the Belize flag as the national anthem was played. Mayor Nuñez then took center stage as he announced the 21st anniversary of Belize independence. Thunderous applause and loud cheers followed the tune of "Que Viva Belice" (long live Belize) as breathtaking and colorful fireworks  illuminated the skies. Belizeans once again celebrated their independence from Britain as the partying resumed on Barrier Reef Drive until the wee hours of the morning.

   The festivities continued on Saturday afternoon as Mayor Nuñez, Area Representative Patty Arceo and UDP San Pedro Representative, Manuel Heredia Jr. held a short ceremony at Central Park where various speeches were given. It was then jump-up time through the main streets of San Pedro as the Grand Parade began. Many groups and floats joined in the celebration including the San Pedro Lions Club (accompanied by their past Lions queens), the San Pedro AIDS Commission, the San Pedro Chapter of the Belize Red Cross, Belize Rural South, Riverwalk Gardens, Barb-ara's Dance Group, Belize Telecommunications Limited, San Telmo Living Arts and many others. Loud cheers and festive music echoed throughout town as celebrations went on until the afternoon. The fun continued that evening with a grand concert by The Mighty Sparrow Band at the Old Football Field - a perfect way to end this year's celebrations - "Proud and Strong at 21."
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