With the general message at the Independence Day ceremony being that of unity and nation building, the Opposition Leader, Francis Fonseca did speak on those factors as he honed in on the importance of every Belizean playing a role in the further development of Belize.
“In these thirty-four years we have faced challenges and adversity as a nation and people but our spirit has remained strong and resilient. Belize has claimed its rightful place in the global community as a proud, sovereign nation deeply committed to justice and equality of all peoples but today for me the more important question is what will we make of the next thirty four years? What is our national vision for this next chapter of our young nation’s life and are we each of us prepared to work and sacrifice to achieve that vision and create the society we say we aspire to. Nation building is not about wishful thinking. It is about hard work, commitment and participation. Each of us as citizens of this our loved Belize has a duty and obligation to be engaged in its growth and development.”
And while he spoke on the importance of coming together, he did take time out to zero in on some national matters including what he describes as, ‘an ailing education system’.
“How can we stand and work together to give focused and urgent attention to job creation, to fixing our ailing education system, to ensuring that all our people who ever they are and wherever they live have access to affordable quality health care, to fighting the scourge of crime and violence. I repeat today what I said on this occasion only last year; without the ability to quickly reach our borders, patrol our seas, and safeguard our natural resources proclaiming our sovereignty and territorial integrity risks becoming nothing more than empty clamorous rhetoric. Thirty-four years after independence our efforts to combat poverty and inequality demand and require an equal sense of purpose and unity. True development calls for profound qualitative change not only of the economy but also of the society. Central to this change is governance reform. Governance is the hallmark of a democratic, peaceful just society and is fundamental to eradicating poverty and corruption, bringing about economic growth and social progress. It is concerned with the rules regulations and procedures that apply to the decision making process. Thirty four years after independence seventeen years of PUP, seventeen years of UDP, our responsibility and obligation is to work together in good faith to change, improve and strengthen the failing systems and structures we have in place to govern and develop Belize.”
Fonseca went on to speak of good governance while lobbying for a thirteenth Senator and the reactivation of the Integrity Commission and the restructuring of the Public Accounts Committee whilst reflecting on the words of Leader Emeritus, the Right Honorable George Cadle Price.
“On this Independence Day, let us embrace governance reform by committing to the appointment of the thirteenth Senator, to reactivating the Integrity Commission and to restructuring the Public Accounts Committee. On this twenty first day of September let us resolve to renew our commitment as a nation and people to build a society based on equality, justice and opportunity. This must not only be our hope and dream, it must be the foundation of who we are as a people. Delivering his national day address on September 10th, 1962, the Father of our Nation, then Premier George Price had this to say: “Full internal self-governance and independence are neither easily achieved nor successfully maintained without great effort on our part. We must work harder, produced more and improve our skills more quickly and extensively.”. Fifty-three years later the simple clarity and relevance of this message rings loudly.”
2015 marks the 4th consecutive year that Francis Fonseca has delivered his address at the Independence celebrations as the Leader of the Opposition.