For the 12th and final time, Prime Minister Dean Barrow delivered his Independence Day address in the capacity as leader of the nation. Barrow had no gifts or grand announcements for the Belizean people as many have come to expect based on past Independence addresses. This year there were no housing loans written off nor were there any incentives in light of it being an election year. Perhaps this had to do with the fact that Barrow is ending his term as Prime Minister and making an exit from electoral politics.
Rt.Hon Dean Barrow, Prime Minister of Belize: “І hаvе bееn dеlіvеrіng Іndереndеnсе dау ѕреесhеѕ fоr оvеr twеntу уеаrѕ nоw, еіthеr аѕ Lеаdеr оf thе Орроѕіtіоn оr аѕ Рrіmе Міnіѕtеr. І dо ѕо оnе lаѕt tіmе tоdау іn сіrсumѕtаnсеѕ thаt аrе thе mоѕt tахіng іn а gеnеrаtіоn. In the end, though, Belize’s ultimate triumph will depend most on Belize itself. Our recovery, our tourism and agriculture and manufacturing and services rebound, will oblige us to work harder than ever, make more sacrifices than ever. Most particularly, we will now be mandated to deploy in fullest measure those innate talents, that Belizean capacity, which we proudly possess in demonstrated plenty. So, for me, I leave with the certain knowledge that we can do it; that we will prevail because our leaders- political and spiritual and social- are united in their love for Belize, their will to rescue our country. Whoever comes next, then, will surely operate on the basis that it is vision, dedication and faith in Divine Providence that will bring us to safe harbour. And so, Hail and farewell. I thank all for the unmatchable privilege of having been allowed to serve this country; and God bless Belize!”
What Prime Minister Barrow focused on during his address was the tenacity of the Belizean people and the Government’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic. According to the Prime Minister
Rt.Hon Dean Barrow, Prime Minister of Belize: “Of course, we will always lament that so many of our people have been afflicted. We will always grieve for those fallen to the plague. Likewise, we will not gloss over our shortcomings, our blank fear at the start as we struggled with a phenomenon that none could have imagined, for which none could have prepared. But we will ever know that during our greatest trial we once more found our heroes: our nurses and doctors and health inspectors and immigration and customs officers; our police and our soldiers and our coast guard and all those that defend the ramparts against this insidious scourge. We fought and are fighting what is not even tactile, what seems spectral but is all too real. It is a virus no bigger than a mote of dust, something we can’t touch or feel or see. Still, it has felled us in numbers, rich and poor and high and low. It is an irony of ironies, though, that this merciless leveler is also a great elevator. In basic ways, it has validated our humanity and our Belizeanness. We have come together as one. We have lifted each other up. We have found new ways of doing things. We have called forth those great national reserves of resilience and courage. We are carried aloft by our front line workers, those that sometimes clock 24 hour shifts. We are inspired by the hardscrabble creativity of everyday people: the tacos and tamales makers, the coconut huskers and juicers, those women and men that have gone from street side hawking to internet vending in order to preserve their livelihood and feed their families. In the end, the selflessness of the many is far outdoing the selfishness of the few.No coronavirus storm, no Hurricane Nana, is able ultimately to defeat our core values, scar our Belizean culture or deface the spectacular physical and spiritual beauty of this our own, our native land.”
Prime Minister Dean Barrow leaves office in less than six weeks. The 69-year-old attorney has served as Prime Minister since 2008. Before that he was the Leader of the Opposition for ten years. His career in politics began in December 1983 when he ran in the Belize City Council elections. He has been the duly elected Area Representative for the Queen’s Square division since 1984. Barrow follows Said Musa in being the only Area Representative with a long uninterrupted political tenure in office.