"Oh land of the free by the Carib Sea," is the land of Belize by the beautiful Caribbean Sea. It is a land that we have come to call home and our own.
Belize obtained its independence on September 21st, 1981, making us a fairly young country. We have learned to live among multi-diverse communities in perfect harmony; one culture that cannot be described with one word or even in one sentence.
The Rt. Hon. George Price is known as the father of independence, since he fought hard for the rights of all Belizeans. September 21st gives us the opportunity to celebrate our independence and the entire country embarks on a month filled with activities, educational programs, events and all day jump-ups.
San Pedro's program for celebration commenced on September 9th with the election of Norma Flota as the new Miss San Pedro 1998/99. The following day was the celebration of the Battle of St. George's Caye. The official ceremony of the Battle of St. George's Caye was held at 10:00 a.m. at Central Park. The ceremony initiated the day long jump up with games, prizes, food, drinks and a parade.
On September 11th, hundreds of people gathered along Central American Boulevard to witness the very popular Carnival. "Paraders" marched and jumped up to energetic and live Belizean/Caribbean music with an array of colorful and highly extravagant costumes. They had to withstand temperatures of about 96º in the shade and higher.
Kings of the Court Basketball Tournament was held at Central Park on September 12th and on the 13th an Independence Beach Bash was held at Mar de Tumbo. There was plenty of food, drinks and activities for all the family; there was beach volleyball, games and much more. The Unity band was also present to add some spice to the entire day.
The spelling bee contest scheduled on September 14th, at the Lions Den was postponed to Thursday, September 17th. Children's National Day was observed on September 15th and presentations by Belizean educators were held for primary school students. Pinita Verde, Leo Cuellar and Ilna Auxillo went to all the primary schools to talk to the children about Belize and the September celebrations. Pinita Verde talked about the celebrations on the island and our freedom. Ilna Auxillo gave a speech on patriotism and how the children can show their patriotism and pride towards Belize. Mr. Leo Cuellar spoke about the history of Belize, from slavery to independence and the diverse culture of Belize.
The Pre-school children of San Pedro paraded the streets in their beautiful costumes and they displayed their talent at the Pre-School Talent Night held at the Lion's Den on September 16th. Presentations were held at the San Pedro High School Awareness Seminar held on September 17th. Educators, businesspeople, and doctors held individual seminars at the high school where they presented topics on tourism, gangs and crime, sex education, environment, sports, health, drugs and leadership. Patriotic Night was held at the Lion's Den with a poem and dance competition.
Pre-Independence Day Jump Up will take place at Central Park on September 20th followed by the Midnight Torch and Flag Ceremony. Grupo Crack will be playing at the Independence Dance following the ceremony. The Independence Day Ceremony will commence at 10:00 a.m. at Central Park. Miss San Pedro will be crowned and an all day jump up will follow.
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