September celebrations started off in Belize this year under siege style arrangements with the only public event a staged ceremony at the old colonial governor’s residence in Belize city with soldiers parading on a sun blanched concrete pad while a few officials sweltered under a tin roof shed by the Caribbean Sea. It was 93 °F in the shade.
Once a mass public event to commemorate the skirmish at St. George’s Caye, now a forlorn, abbreviated ceremony with no members of the public invited and the party goers relegated to watching events via live-stream on social media.
The governor general Colville Young dressed in a fresh, grey guayabera shirt inspected his last 10th September military guard. Prime Minister Dean Barrow no less sartorial in a guayabera-style shirt likewise observed his last 10th ceremony. The former will be replaced under a new government. The latter is retiring after a good run in politics. A new Queen of the Bay was installed. Frankly, the photographs taken indoors are better than those at the ceremony.The mayor of Belize city delivered short remarks. A government minister made a hardly audible speech. The MC, attired in a business suite and tie, dutifully doubled as sanitation worker. Spraying and wiping down the podium and microphone with disinfectant between speeches that were mercifully brief.
A few members the diplomatic corps and functionaries quickly dispersed. The videographers folded their tripods and decamped. A broiling summer sun left its mark on the neglected, yellowing grass lawn where colonialists once drank gin and played croquet.
Outside in Belize Town, now Belize City, a lone music truck roved the main streets. Playing calypso and soca music trying to keep alive the memory of spirits-fueled revelry. A time bygone. Such was the Tenth in Belize 2020.