“Hopeful hearts, Steady hands, Together we rise”: that’s the theme for celebrations marking Belize fortieth birthday. Today, the National Celebration Commission (NCC) unveiled the theme along with their logo and this year’s September song. A small ceremony to commemorate the launch was held this morning at the House of Culture in Belize City. Minister of Education and Chairman of the NCC, Francis Fonseca spoke to the media about what this year’s theme symbolizes.
Francis Fonseca, Minister of Education, Culture, Science & Technology: “We’re still a young nation at forty but hopefully, as I said, we have reached a level of maturity where we’re better able to understand the challenges we face. We better appreciate our priorities as a nation that is the hope. And yet at forty you still have an opportunity to make changes, you’re not too old, you’re still able to make changes, to make adjustments in the course of where you’re headed. And so I think it’s a critical time and I think we should use this fortieth anniversary as an opportunity to reflect on where we are, how have we gotten here, what mistakes have we made as a people, as a nation and how can we move forward, how can we move forward. What are our priorities as a people, as a nation, what are the things that are important to us as Belizeans and how can we work together to achieve those things in the next twenty, forty years. So I think that’s what we wanted to do and that’s why it was important on the calendar for us to have not only celebrations in terms of music and these type of activities but also to have some discussions and we wanted to involve the young people and that’s why I reached out to the National Student Union of Belize and said let’s work together, let’s collaborate and have a creative youth ideas summit. Have the young people organize it, have them discuss, they take the lead and say these are issues that we believe are important to us as young Belizeans, these are the challenges as we see them facing Belize and these are our ideas, our creative ideas for how we can address these challenges moving forward. As well we’re having a panel discussion. I reached out to the national University of Belize the chairman and the board and I said to them lets collaborate there as well. Let’s have our academics sit down and lets have a discussion about the state of our nation at forty and the national university leading that discussion. Where are we? Again how can we address the challenges we’re facing and how can we as a university community, as educators how can we help to advance Belize’s agenda moving forward.”
But while the NCC is gearing up for the celebration season, the COVID-19 pandemic continues to ravage the country. Minster Fonseca spoke about how the commission chose to do things a bit differently this year.
Francis Fonseca, Minister of Education, Culture, Science & Technology: “As you know last year was a hundred percent virtual and so this year we started out hopeful, hopeful hearts hoping that we could have a mix, a blend of some of course virtual events but also bring people together in small groups in a controlled environment in a responsible way. The figure were looking good, the rates were down in terms COVID infections but you know over the past few weeks as you have all witnessed we’ve taken a turn and we’re now surging again in terms of cases so we have to keep that in mind of course. The safety of our citizens is always paramount and we have to be guided by our Ministry of Health so we have the Ministry of Health as a member of the commission they provide guidance to us so we’re still going to try to have some controlled environments where we have for example the concerts and we have a concert here we might set up a few tables and have maybe ten or fifteen people who can participate and have that interaction with the DJs and the musicians. But you know again it’s all in limbo in a sense and we have a back up plan if everything has to be virtual again then that’s the way it’s going to be but we hope that we can have some mix and have some live performances and activities.”
The theme was created was chosen from a batch of over two hundred submissions that saw Alexandria Villanueva and Akeem Copper win that portion of the competition while the NCC’s new logo chosen from a batch of fifty submissions and was won by Victoria Gonzalez.