Posted: Monday, September 20, 2021. 2:23 pm CST.
By Rubén Morales Iglesias: “One of the striking commonalities between Belize and Taiwan, as well as our other diplomatic allies, here is the vigor with which we safeguard our territorial integrity and our unadulterated understanding of and appreciation for our sovereignty,” said Belize Ambassador to Taiwan Dr. Candice Pitts in Opening Remarks at the Virtual Independence Day Ceremony in Taipei, Taiwan, to commemorate Belize 40th Independence Day.
“Incidentally, this year also marks 32 years of diplomatic relations between Belize and Taiwan,” said Ambassador Pitts. “I avail myself of this opportunity to thank President Tsai (Ing-wen) and the people of Taiwan for their friendship and for the mutual support between both countries.”
Ambassador Pitts saluted all Belizeans around the globe, and particularly those in Taiwan.
“The month of September is particularly a significant month for us as Belizeans, as it affords us the opportunity, each year, of acknowledging our privilege of living in a free Belize,” Pitts said. “This September marks a critical milestone as we celebrate the 40th Independence Day of our country. The COVID-19 pandemic affects the manner in which we can commemorate our patriotic event. However, we must never fail to celebrate, or at the very least, acknowledge freedom that was hard-won by many Belizeans who preceded us.”
She said we must never forget those who fought for Belize’s freedom.
“The suffering was visceral and the struggles innumerable, but our brave parents never bowed nor surrendered to the oppressors. Those difficult times, pre-independence, were defining and must not be allowed to fade away from our memories. Hence, every Independence Day, we not only celebrate our freedom, but we also pay tribute to the ones who fought for it, to the ones who held a vision for our country, and to the ones who sacrificed themselves to realize these aims.”
“Those valiant Belizeans are numerable, dating as far back to the Baymen and the Flowers, Antonio Soberanis, Gwen Lizarraga, George Price, the man behind our struggle for freedom, and all the other brave men and women who made the supreme sacrifice for our country’s sovereignty.”
Ambassador Pitts said September 21st is not only about freedom.
“This day has a plethora of meanings that remind us, among other relevant complexities of the atrocities of colonial rule, neo-colonial violations and attendant issues, and the lingering effects of oppression, the insidious and invidious Guatemalan territorial dispute, and the effects of colonial violence now demonstrated to tragic proportions by our young men in the streets,” Pitts noted.
“The challenges concomitant with our country’s independence set the stage for the emergence of other heroes and patriotic martyrs: our compatriots since Belize’s self-government, the men and women since 1981, and especially the young men and women who have taken up the mantle of hope and inserted themselves in a genealogy or freedom fighters struggling in their own way to safeguard Belize’s territorial integrity, its sovereignty and to ensure there is Freedom and Justice for all Belizeans.”
Pitts said that now we are at a crossroads and must ask ourselves what we can do to make Belize better.
“The COVID-19 pandemic is wreaking havoc and claiming lives,” she said. “Our national economy has been crippled or major industries need resuscitation. Poverty and unemployment are incessant issues, but like the Belizeans before us who made concerted efforts to set Belize on a path to freedom, we must also ask ourselves the question, ‘What can I and we do for Belize?’ and then seek to answer that question and realize that answer.”
“It is our responsibility as proud citizens of Belize, whether we are students or professionals, business owners or laborers, children or parents, men or women, young or experienced, to sincerely perform our duty and progress together for the recovery, growth, and development of our country.
“With the sacrifices of our ancestors in mind, we must move forward with hopeful hearts, steady hands, and do all we can to rise together as one nation.”
Ambassador Pitts closed her Independence Day speech wishing all Belizeans “Happy Independence Day, Belizeans at home, abroad, and particularly here in Taiwan. Long live, Belize. Larga vida, Belize. Long live ‘fu we Belize’.”
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