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September Celebrations kick off on St. George’s Caye Print E-mail
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Written by Shane D. Williams   
Thursday, 06 September 2012 00:00

Governor General leads the wayOn Sunday, September 2nd, the Governor General of Belize, Sir Colville Young, led a large group of government officials, diplomats and patriotic citizens to St. George’s Caye. 214 years prior, a group of Baymen, African slaves and free blacks resisted Spanish rule and defended their right to settle on the island. There are opposing views on the events of the 1798 Battle of Saint George’s Caye. However, whatever one's views on the Battle are, every Belizean knows that if a settlement was not established on St. George’s Caye, there would be no Belize today. That is why the National September Celebrations Commission now launches the September Celebrations every year from St. George’s Caye.

St. George’s Caye is home to some 250 residents. The Chairman of the Community Council of St. George’s Caye, John Searle, Jr., and the other residents of the island were very welcoming on Sunday. They know very well the historical significance that their home represents in Belize. Searle once again commended the celebrations commission for celebrating St. George’s Caye in the right context. The settlement at St. George’s Caye was the start of our journey to nationhood and today, it is where we begin our national celebrations.

In 2009, Hon. Manuel Herredia Jr., Minister of Tourism and Culture, proclaimed St. George’s Caye a Historical Site. The island’s significance in our history has been diminished due to a seemingly organized campaign to dispute the facts of the 1798 Battle. Those who now make their way to St. George’s Caye annually to kick off the celebrations believe not only in the Battle, but the message that the Battle implies. The Battle tells that a bunch of misfits, once united, can defeat an extremely powerful foe. That is the story that they want their children to learn in school, that 214 years ago, the settlement received word that an attack was imminent. A meeting was held to decide whether to abandon or defend the settlement. The votes cast resulted in a tie and they sent for free blacks from the Flowers Bank area to cast their votes. The Flowers Bank 14 voted unanimously to fight, not flee. That is why today Belize is free.