Posted: Friday, July 31, 2020. 10:10 am CST.
By Aaron Humes: “The Garden [City] is golden!”
So say organizers of Saturday’s official festivities in the capital, which was opened for business on August 1, 1970.
Belize City had been capital and focal point of the Jewel since it was formed although St. George’s Caye was administrative center for a while as well.
But in 1961, Hurricane Hattie devastated the City and killed scores, and the then ruling People’s United Party under George Price decided, unchallenged, to move administration to an insulated inland area, eventually choosing the junction of the Western (now named for Price) and Hummingbird Highways.
First phase of construction began in 1967 and concluded in 1970, including the faux-Mayan architecture of the National Assembly building and Government offices and the Central Ring Road.
The city, managed by the Reconstruction and Development Corporation (RECONDEV), grew slowly from there, adding neighborhoods, schools, and various services.
In 1999, residents voted by referendum to directly elect a City Council.
Today Belmopan has fulfilled its initial promise as the administrative and diplomatic center of Belize, though Belize City is still top dog economically.
Saturday’s ceremonies begin at the Independence Plaza at 9 a.m. followed by a motorcade to Mae Gordon Park.
Happy Birthday Belmopan!
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