Posted: Sunday, September 24, 2023. 2:22 pm CST.
By Hugh O’Brien: During her Independence Day welcome remarks, Belmopan’s first female Mayor, Sharon Palacio, urged Belizeans to shed their colonial mindset and embrace change.
“As a nation, we remain trapped in colonial thinking. Even as global trends demand evolution, many are reluctant to abandon the old systems,” said Mayor Palacio. “The time has come for Belizeans to release these shackles that impede progress.”
Mayor Palacio, who said that she is a proud Garifuna woman, challenged the prevailing stereotypes and biases that perceive Black, Garifuna women merely as subjects of charity and pity. She emphasized the need to recognize the significant contributions such individuals can make towards nation-building.
“To alter these narratives, we must first understand our self-worth and believe in our capabilities. We cannot effectively counter these misrepresentations by only engaging in fragmented discussions,” Mayor Palacio asserted.
Addressing the topic of education, the Mayor stressed the importance of incorporating indigenous knowledge into learning. “There is no singular way to gain knowledge. It’s essential to draw from our diverse cultural heritage and traditions. We must broaden our horizons regarding who we learn from, recognizing that everyone has a lesson to impart. Furthermore, we should ensure that the knowledge we acquire is relevant and practical for our local context,” she said.
Mayor Palacio’s noted that the journey to become the first female Mayor of Belmopan has been marked with challenges. In her view privileges for Belizean women in leadership positions are lacking. “Ladies, don’t be mistaken; being a woman in a leadership role in Belize doesn’t come with special benefits. We still have miles to go. If we wish to alter the course for women in politics, we need our male counterparts to support and collaborate. Just as a bird requires two wings to soar, our nation needs both genders to flourish.”
On the occasion of Belize’s 42nd year as an independent nation, Mayor Palacio did not deliver a welcome address as expected, but rather she spoke very long delivering more of a guest speakers address.
In an exclusive review with Breaking Belize News, Mayor Palacio said she “hopes that her words planted the seeds of hope for a brighter, more inclusive future for Belize, seeds that would help get rid of the colonial mindset, and grow to help transform Belize into a more truly independent nation”.
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