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National Celebrations Commission blames CITCO for fair cancellation

Posted: Friday, August 17, 2018. 7:00 p.m. CST.

By BBN Staff: Today,the  National Celebration Commission (NCC) issued a statement saying that the decision to cancel the September 10th fair in Belize City was done solely by the Belize City Council.

The NCC is chaired by the Minister of Culture under the auspices of the Ministry of Education, Youth, Sport and Culture.

The Commission comprises of members from Government and Non-Governmental agencies, Statutory Bodies, Civil Societies, the Mayor’s Association, representatives from all municipalities, the Belize Police Department and Belize Defense Force.

The majority of NCC funds is provided through a subvention by the Government of Belize and the remaining from donations by Private and Public sector organizations across the country.

According to the NCC, this year, a number of key partners either reduced their donations or provided in-kind support thus impacting the overall budget of the Commission.

As is customary during the planning phases, all municipalities and stakeholders were asked to submit a plan of proposed activities & events they hoped to host, accompanied with a budget.   This is to ensure that the funds available to the Commission can be equitably distributed to all municipalities and stakeholders.

While it is the prerogative and responsibility of each municipality to host and organize their own events, NCC’s assistance is rendered in planning, executing and funding of all official events. These include but are not limited to the following:

  • National Song Competition (San Ignacio/Santa Elena)
  • Official Launch of September Celebrations (San Ignacio/Santa Elena)
  • Official Ceremony for the 220th Anniversary of St George’s Caye Day (Belize City)
  • Pan Yaad
  • Carnival Activities (King and Queen Competition, Jouvert, Road March) (Belize City)
  • Official Flag Raising Ceremony (Belize City)
  • 20th night September Firework Display (Belize City)
  • Official Ceremony for the 37th Anniversary of Independence (Belmopan)
  • Ecumenical Service
  • Tribute to Belizean Patriots – National Honours and Awards Ceremony (Belize City).

The NCC says that they take their responsibility seriously and would not make decisions that would adversely affect the Belizean public and the September Celebrations.

The commission says that they received an email from the Belize City Council, dated Friday, August 10th, 2018, stating that they needed time to adjust their submitted list of events:

The Belize City Council is requesting a short hold on printing the 2018 Playbill to give us the opportunity to review the events we have submitted for Belize City. Note that this request has become necessary since the funding allocated by the National Celebrations Commission has been reduced significantly; and therefore, has negatively impacted our ability to host the previously submitted list of events.

On August 11th, 2018, a subsequent email was sent by the Belize City Council stating the below:

The Belize City Council has taken the decision to remove the 10th Bram/Municipal Fair from the 2018 Playbill of September events due to budgetary constraints.
Kindly ensure that this event is removed from the Playbill so that there is no confusion regarding events hosted for our municipality.  

The NCC says that it was blindsided by their decision to cancel the 10th of September Municipal Bram.

“That decision was made solely by the Belize City Council,” the statement said.

According to the commission, the financial support that was allocated to the Belize City Council is based on their submitted budget request, which included the Municipal Bram.

The NCC admit that they took into consideration all of their proposed activities and made the most conscientious reduction to the budget request. This was also done with the knowledge that all councils supplement their expenditure during the September Celebration.

Furthermore, the commission expressed their disappointment in the Mayor and Deputy Mayor of Belize City for ‘incorrectly blaming the National Institute of Culture and History (NICH) for the cancellation of the September 10th Belize City Municipal Bram during their interviews, when that decision, was outside the purview of NICH and NCC.”

“NCC finds it interesting, that while all municipalities receive less than that of Belize City Council, and a reduction from their submitted budget requests, CITCO is the only one whom chose to cancel an event during our National Celebrations,” the statement added.

The National Institute of Culture and History co-chairs the Commission and is the financial conduit for the funds distributed to all municipalities and key stakeholders.

However, decisions of what events and activities take place and are celebrated are solely that of the respective municipalities and key stakeholders.

The commission says that the attempts to lay blame on NCC or NICH is “uncalled for” and not in the spirit of cooperation.

NCC wishes all Belizeans a happy, safe and memorable September Celebration where all citizens unite to celebrate and honor our historic events.

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