Belize 2021 Public Holidays Amendments Officialized
Source:Belize Ministry of National Security (Belmopan)
Posted: Monday, January 11, 2021
Full details have now been released about the Belize Holidays Act Amendments that was passed at a special sitting of the Belize House of Representatives. In particular, the previously-announced cancellation of Pan American Day was removed from the final version of the Belize Holidays Act Amendments.
The aforementioned Belize Holidays Act Amendments were introduced, late last year (2020-12-31), by the the Minister of Home Affairs of the newly-formed government of Belize, Kareem Musa, and the enabling Designate New Holidays and Special Days Motion, 2021, was adopted last Friday (2021-01-09).
Initially, the amendments were to be limited to the 2021 public holidays in Belize, which had already been released last summer (2020-06-15). The gazette proposed amendments included the addition of 2 new annual public holidays in Belize; George Price Day on January 15 and Freedom Day on August 1 (observed on August 2, in 2021, due to August 1st being a Sunday).
One of the other key aspects of the initial version of the Belize Holidays Act Amendments was the cancellation of the Pan-American Day public holiday held in October. This proposed cancellation led the leader of the opposition, Patrick Faber, to make a plea for its remaining on the list of annual Belize public holidays ("We place on the record our absolute support for August 1st to be deemed Freedom Day in commemoration of the emancipation of slaves. We do take issue though Madam Speaker and while we put it on the record it is merely that, the government in its wisdom has made a decision here and that is okay but we do place on the record our concern that we are downplaying what was and even though in this country the determination was Columbus day and there’s a lot to be said about Christopher Columbus and whether he should receive a holiday but Belizeans in this country saw the day more as a day of celebrating races and in particular the Indigenous people of this country. Now I see that the motion attempts to solidify that same concept but not taking it far enough by saying now it is only a special day when in fact Madam Speaker the Indigenous people, and I’m sure my friend the minister will agree with me, play a very very important role in Belize’s development").
In the end, it looks like the October pubic holiday will be kept, but it will be renamed, according to the current Belize government.
Links and References
Below are links to the news stories referred to in the above "Belize 2021 Public Holidays Amendments Officialized" news story, as well as links to subsequents news stories which refer to the present news story.