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Belize Rebounds by Mayor Bernard Wagner

Posted: Saturday, September 17, 2022. 3:20 pm CST.

Contributed By Bernard Wagner, Belize City Mayor: When you are on medical leave for three weeks it gives you a lot of spare time. A few weeks ago, I was locked into the TV as the official Belize Rebounds at 41 music video was launched. The video captured the dynamic, festive spirit of our resilient nation. The video was purposeful in showcasing a lot of what makes our country the fascinating jewel that it is; our Charming Culture, The Soulful Sea, delectable dishes, and astonishing beaches – features that are always curated as digital ambassadors to represent the Belizean story.

While a childish pride possessed me while watching the video, what truly imparted on me was the incisive opening remark by the video Director, Mr. Carlo Habet. He said, “the past two years were all about inspiration. But this year is all about celebration.”

That couldn’t be truer.

I am not sure if he was being casually poetic, or if he was drawing a keen parallel to our September Celebrations theme, but, it truly, truly stuck with me, and moved me to a thankful prayer for the year our country has been enjoying under Plan Belize, versus the recent years passed.

Seeing life being restored to national pageants, festivals, carnivals, and the many instances of people saying ‘wi de outside’ is nothing short of a blessing. The worst is now behind us, and we are free to exploit a chance to build better days ahead, moved by our new mantra; Valiant and Bold, Proud and Strong, Belize rebounds at 41!

When we examine the pages of our history, there’s a common theme throughout; Belize Rebounds. Belize Rebounds. Belize rebounds.

From attempted invasions and economic turmoil to devastating hurricanes and bloody tragedies, Belize rebounds time and time and time again. And what’s beautiful is not just the fact that we do so – but the way how we do so, which is always Together, as one people.

When our challenges seem insurmountable, we plant our heels in the ground and dig as deep as the depths that our national soul allows.

When support seems illusive, and allies aren’t near, we look within and unleash the bravery of our ancestors.

When our very way of life is threatened, be it by colonizers, pandemics, or global hardships, we unite, we transform into lionhearted heroes, and we fight like Olympians, because the Belizean Story, the Belizean Way of Life, the Belizean people, and Belize itself, are worth digging deep for, are worth being brave for, and are absolutely, and always, worth fighting for.

This anniversary of the Battle of St. George’s Caye reminds us of the legendary story of the Flowers Bank 14 which has been immortalized in Belizean literature, and deservingly so. Theirs is a story that encompasses what we have known to be true; that Belize knows how to fight, that Belize knows how to navigate dangerous oceans, that Belize knows how to rebound.

For me, now, more than ever, I think there’s a fitting call to action worth championing. Why not do things differently from here on? Why not move beyond our valiant and bold response to social traumas, and elevate to the virtues of Nation Building that our political forefathers pleaded for, that our Father of the Nation, the Right Honorable George Price fought for?

Instead of using our energy to fight through hardships, why not fight for development? For shared prosperity. For a Belize that thrives. Why not fight for each other, instead of fighting against each other?

Instead of navigating to a safe harbor when storms approach, why not navigate proactively through the global networks, social systems, and technological infrastructure that could elevate the Belizean way of life?

And, instead of suffering economic, social, and political abuses time and time again, just because we know we can and we will always rebound, why not channel our dynamisms and direct traffic in a manner that puts Belize on top, as not only a productive, self-sufficient nation but as a regional and international leader; an example for stability, for sustainability, for abundance, for quality of life, for hope.

We can. Like the Battle of St. George’s Caye, and the other forms of battles fought then, we know what we’re capable of when our back’s against the wall… but it’s not tragedies that make us who and what we are, it’s our gritty Belizean DNA, an ethos I will forever reference. It is what makes us rebound. It’s what makes us valiant. It’s why we’re bold. And it is what will drive us beyond the limits of our reactionary powers, and into the mecca of our true Belizean Potential.

This defining paradigm shift, my friends, is the next great Battle worth conquering.


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