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October 15, 2014

Belize: National Holidays That Need Re-engineering

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Posted: Wednesday, October 15, 2014. 6:49 am CST.

By Richard Harrison

Belize celebrates Pan American Day on October 12 and Labor Day on May 1 each year….as national public and bank holidays.

These holidays seem to have lost their purpose in the psyche of the Belizean people….with the holiday having become just another day off from work….serving no social, cultural or economic purpose of value to the nation.

Holidays should bring our people closer together for a national constructive purpose….to promote unity.

In keeping with the Pan American theme….we should construct a day that celebrates our diversity…in a healthy, competitive context….open opportunity for getting to know new people and different places….invite participation from bordering communities in Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador.

Marion Jones: Pride of Belize

One idea that would achieve such an objective would be a massive sports day….where two-day track and field meets [focus on sporting contests that bring people close together] are organized by district and school sporting organizers….such that school teams, their families and school communities travel to another district for the contests….Corozal vs Cayo, Belize vs Toledo, Orange Walk vs Stann Creek….with a return visit the second year….and then moving on to challenge another district in the third year.

If properly organized and promoted…..this would cause upwards of 50 thousand persons to gather in three locations across the country….in a healthy competitive spirit….requiring all kinds of transportation, hotel, restaurant, entertainment and other services…a big boost in economy for the hosting districts.

Belize Band Fest

Certainly the SICA, OAS, UNICEF, Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports….governments of neighboring countries…and many private organizations from Belize and neighboring states….would be more than happy to sponsor the organization and mobilization of such events. The better the organization and promotion….and the bigger the winning prizes….the greater the incentive to participate…as contestants, spectators, fans, organizers, facilitators, service providers, etc etc.

With regards to Labor Day…..the National Band Fest should be moved to this date….and in conjunction with the unions and other labor stakeholders….transform this holiday into a true celebration of labor and labor forces….with the theme focused on labor productivity…and rewards/recognition for productivity measurement and gains. This will bring color, energy, momentum and socio-cultural inspiration….vitality for viability….to our young population.

These could be broadcast live on national television….so that grandparents can enjoy the contests and cheer on their grandchildren from the comfort of their homes.

These are only a couple ideas….and offered more to stimulate brain storming around this topic….with a view to coming up with a bunch of concepts from which to pick the best for these national holidays to regain their meaning, purpose and rightful place in our Belizean psyche.

Allowing our national holidays to die a natural death makes all of us appear to lack creativity, innovation, inspiration and initiative.

As Belizeans, we should aspire to a more highly developed society and culture….showing evidence of moral and intellectual advancement; humane, ethical, and reasonable….marked by refinement in taste and manners; cultured.

This article was written by Richard Harrison, Belizean investor in production and services businesses in Belize. He holds a Masters in Business Administration degree from Lancaster University.

 

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