Friday, January 15 is the birthday of the late Right Honorable George Cadle Price; Belize’s first Premiere and Prime Minister. This date has now been officially made a holiday as was confirmed in last Friday’s House Meeting. Presenting the motion was Minister Kareem Musa who also announced a second national holiday as Emancipation Day.
Hon. Kareem Musa, Minister of Home Affairs: ““Now therefore be it resolved that one, the 15th day of January shall be a public and bank holiday in honor of the late, the Right Honorable George Price the Father of the Nation and be celebrated as George Price Day. Two, the first day of August shall be a public and bank holiday to mark the importance of emancipation of the slaves in Belize and be celebrated as Emancipation Day. And three, the 12th day of October shall no longer be celebrated as Columbus Day and is to be predesignated by a committee to be formed to review the same and all holidays.”
Leader of the Opposition expressed support for Emancipation Day, but did object to the writing off of October 12 as the Columbus holiday.
Hon. Patrick Faber, Opposition Leader: “We place on the record our absolute support for August 1st to be deemed Freedom Day in commemoration of the emancipation of slaves. We do take issue though Madam Speaker and while we put it on the record it is merely that, the government in its wisdom has made a decision here and that is okay but we do place on the record our concern that we are downplaying what was and even though in this country the determination was Columbus day and there’s a lot to be said about Christopher Columbus and whether he should receive a holiday but Belizeans in this country saw the day more as a day of celebrating races and in particular the Indigenous people of this country. Now I see that the motion attempts to solidify that same concept but not taking it far enough by saying now it is only a special day when in fact Madam Speaker the Indigenous people, and I’m sure my friend the minister will agree with me, play a very very important role in Belize’s development.”
As noted by Minister Musa, a committee will be formed to assess all holidays and submit recommendations to the government.