Belize City Mayor, Bernard Wagner is looking to build relations with the Belizean diaspora in North America and other parts of the world. This initiative is being carried out in the name of the late Hubert Pipersburgh, who was the first Belizean at home to lose his fight to Covid-19. In an exclusive with Love News, Mayor Wagner explained that Pipersburgh had already begun the work, but he fell ill and passed away. The award will be given away at the end of the year, and has been dubbed the Hubert Pipersburgh Diaspora Award.
Bernard Wagner, Mayor of Belize City: “At the end of the year- this is the big one – we have the Hubert Pipersburgh Diaspora of the Year award and this award will be granted in September to an outstanding Belizean diaspora for immense contribution to the work of the Belize City Council in the areas of promoting sister city relations, organizing Belizean diaspora abroad, supporting delegations when we visit overseas and promoting great interaction between Belize and those living abroad. So those areas we believe will really attract and get a greater interaction with our people.”
Mayor Wagner says that the awards for the diaspora are not the only plans that he has for the Belizeans living abroad. As a matter of fact, the Mayor is looking to build a database of locals, and has already gone as far as identifying contacts in several states including Los Angeles and Chicago.
Bernard Wagner, Mayor of Belize City: “When you visit that website you will notice that we will be engaging our brothers and sisters in having four quarterly awards for diaspora brothers and sister to participate. These awards will be granted every quarter March, June, September, December to an outstanding diaspora Belizeans who contribute meaningfully to the work of the Belize City Council and for promoting interaction between Belizeans at home and Belizeans living abroad. In addition to those four quarterly awards we will have one youth of the year award as well and this will be granted to an outstanding diaspora Belizean youth for exceptional contribution again and in the areas of youth development in the areas of sports, IT, music and other youth related activities. The page also features a registration element for lead generation which enables us to really capture valuable data, contact data for Belizeans and it also affords the diasporas to win great prizes and win throughout the year they will be able to win prizes leading up to the grand prize draw which will be a five night Belize vacation package which will take place in September. Additionally we have set up diaspora liaison officers in all cities, in Los Angeles, in Chicago, in Miami, in Houston and New York and we do intend to expand that a bit further and all of these activities are in close conjunction with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs as well so that in a nutshell really captures the enhancement of the Hugh Pipersburgh Diaspora Help Desk.”
Mayor Bernard Wagner went on to explain that in many instances, Belizeans who have lived abroad for many years are sometimes shunned when they choose to return home or try to assist local communities. In an effort to tackle this rejection of those in the diaspora, the mayor says it is important to recognize that what they bring to the table.
Bernard Wagner, Mayor of Belize City: “Many of our Belizeans living abroad have tremendous skills, tremendous competency that we need to draw on. For many years people living abroad have felt that when they come back to Belize that people don’t welcome them back. They are often viewed as “oh he’s just living in the states.” but these Belizeans that go and try to find success abroad have always been contributing to the economy of Belize and in this pandemic we need everyone on board, we need all the help we can get. Even if it’s just knowledge based, even if it’s just an advice, even if it’s just networking we do believe that we can draw significant knowledgebase from our diaspora brothers and sisters.”