The September celebrations are taking place under the theme “Belize Da Fi Wi Now and Forever 8867”. Amidst the celebrations, lie Guatemala’s claim to our sovereignty. Some Belizeans are eager to resolve the matter; however, many question whether taking the matter to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) would be the best solution. During the September celebrations, our leaders are using the various platforms to promote taking Guatemala’s claim to the ICJ. This certainly was the case at the ceremony marking the two hundred and twentieth anniversary of the Battle of St. George’s Caye yesterday. Acting Prime Minister, Patrick Faber said that like our ancestors, today, we are also being called to defend our land.
Honorable Patrick Faber: “Whether you believe that what happend at St George’s Caye in 1798 was a battle or not what is for certain is that there was victory on that day. That’s worth every bit of the homage that we have paid and continue to pay to those who have decided to stay and defend. What we celebrate and commemorate is the fact that our ancestors contributed to the successful defence and building of Belize. Simply put the Belizean settlers shed their blood for us. We are here because they were here. All of us here today are the inheritors of Belize and we must continue to defend Belize as our ancestors did and if we have to do as they have done shed our blood to defend Belize we must be prepared to do it. Choosing to defend, to stay and to fight for what is yours is never an easy decision my friends and I am positive that such a decision made by the Baymen and the Flowers Bank 14 free men and slaves united in June of 1797 was of great trepidation. I am certain that they were criticized and ridiculed by those right among the wider settlement but they were strong or as the songwriter puts it they were true and brave. Two hundred and twenty years later while much has changed much has remained the same. We remain under attack by forces that if we allow them to have their way; our way of life would change as we know it in a major way. We remain unable to remain comfortable in our 8867 because of the Guatemalan claim and more recently because of our own selves with the problem of crime and violence. The call on us to stay and defend is today being sounded once again loud an clear. Let us ensure that we answer the call, answer the call in with our vote in the referendum on April 10th 2019 and answer the call as we do our part even if it pinches us a little to rid ourselves of crime and violence which has become the new tyrant in our democracy. My friends as we celebrate today and during this entire month of September let us be thankful of what almighty God has given us as wonderful blessing. Lets us be thankful for all parts of of our 8867, let us defend this land from within and without.”
Mayor Bernard Wagner also reiterated the need to defend our nation.
Bernard Wagner Mayor of Belize: “We honor not only the Baymen and what their epic struggle has brought us but we also honor all Belizeans from the Maya who never quit to the Garifunas who came, slaves who were emancipated and all who came. Indeed it is right to re-educate ourselves in preserving what they fought for so valiantly.It is however also right for us to ask are we improving on their vision? This year we will declare as we march and sing “ Belize Da Fi Wi Now and Forever” but truly my friends really let’s be serious now my fellow citizens. As we look around is this what our ancestor fought for? Is this the sum total of the Baymen’s legacy. How much longer can this beautiful jewel of ours continue to withstand us having been chosen to exploit rather than to nurture and cherish. Over the past weeks we have watched our nation’s streets run red with blood and many of us coward in fear in our homes and even there some were not safe. My friends, my fellow Belizean if we do not adjust our sails and if we continue down this path where are we going to end up? Many are only too happy to shout 8867 sq miles as a badge of their patriotism but will our children be able to proclaim the same? Will they even want what will be left? If we do not fight to defend what was once our peaceful and democratic way of life.”
During the ceremonies the new Queen of the Bay, Jenny Lee Cruz was crowned. Cruz won the title of 2018 Queen of the Bay at the end of August when she beat out five other young ladies for the coveted title. Passing on the clock, scepter and crown was Queen of the Bay 2017, Aaliyah Ysaguirre from the Stann Creek District. A citizens’ parade then followed.