Showing posts from 2012

World Begins Anew, Caracol Winter Solstice

The World Begins Anew
As part of the 2012 year of activities, the National Institute of Culture and History organized overnight cultural tour experiences of the equinoxes and solstices at the site of Caracol in the Pine Ridge Reserve of Cayo, Belize.

We were given a tour by three of Belize’s senior archaeologists Dr. Alan Moore, Dr. Jaime Awe, and Dr. John Morris.
After a delicious dinner buffet of coco-soup, chaya bollos, chicken and pork pibil, corn tortillas, and tamalitos, we were given an excellent 2-part presentation on the Maya Worldview of 2012 and an overview of the work conducted and knowledge attained thus far of the splendid city-state of Caracol.
At the sound of the drum and flute around 3am on 21 December, the Shamans (spiritual guides), Maya elders, children and youth made their way to the A Structure, more commonly known as the E-Group.
The E-Groups are structures that were designed by the ancient Maya to map the movement of the sun during the yearly equinoxes and so…

Ambassador Shoman and Fred Martinez talks about going to the ICJ

Belize's former Ambassador and Belizean historian Assad Shoman along with Alfredo Martinez (Ambassador of Belize to Guatemala) render their views on going to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) as a final resolution to end Guatemala's unfounded claim over Belize.

Interestingly, Shoman says the Gov has a copy of an unpublished legal opinion Guat had received which advised them Guatemala did not have a case against Belize. This is unlike Belize legal opinion that is available in the public domain and which argues the same, ie. Guatemala has no case over Belize.

It would be good if we can get a hold of Guatemala's legal opinion.

Shoman also promises to make a publication on Belize-Guat free of charge by Feb 2013.

Belize and Guatemala will hold a referendum in 2013 to decide whether or not to take the case before the ICJ for final resolution.

Video from Open Your Eyes (Shoman segment starts at 45 minutes in):

Video from Lovefm/tv:

Workshop on Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH)

The National Institute of Culture and History (NICH) through the Institute for Social and Cultural Research (ISCR) recently held a National Workshop on the Implementation of the 2003 Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage from the 5th - 9th November, 2012.  House of Culture, Belize City. 

By ‘Intangible Cultural Heritage’ we refer to music (punta, brukdown, zapateado, etc), songs (carnival songs, folksongs), dances (jonkunu, deer dance), festivals (San Jose Palmar Festival, Maya Day Festival), games (pitpan race, torrito), storytelling (annansi, Maya animal stories), rituals (nine-nights, marriage), language (Maya, Creole), and masquerades (carnival, cortez dance), among other expressions of culture.

Belize signed the Convention in 2007. Since then, we have submitted only one of our ICH to the International List which is the "Language, dance, and music of the Garifuna" in 2009. This was a result of the Garifuna language having been declared a Gari…

Opportunities for Renewable Energy Development in Belize

Opportunities for Renewable Energy Development in Belize

Despite its small size and population, Belize is one of the most culturally, ethnically, and linguistically diverse countries in Central America. As a member of the Caribbean Community  (CARICOM) as well as the Central American Integration System  (SICA), it is the only Central American country with strong ties to both theCaribbean  and Latin America. In the initial phase of our project in the region , the Worldwatch Institute is assessing the existing barriers to and opportunities for a socially, environmentally, and economically sustainable energy system in Belize—an outcome that could connect these two neighboring yet culturally distinct communities and provide tangible benefits to both. Source: Public Utilities Commission of Belize With a population of only 350,000 and a national economy of US$1.5 billion in 2011 , Belize does not consume large amounts of energy. Peak electricity demand in 2010 was 80.6 megawatts (MW), well bel…

Remarks and applauds to Krem Sunday Review

I have been following up on the KremSunday Review hosted by Yaya Marin-Coleman aka “the agitator” and Clinton “Pulu” Lightburn aka the whip for some weeksnow. From what I can gather, Yaya is a down to earth person and with a powerful mind-set that makes her critical of real and at times perceived injustice. Pulu has an extensive knowledge and experience of politics and the behind the scenes stories. The outspokenness may certainly rub off the wrong way with some people, but if one observes closely the Sunday Review has the interest of the Belizean masses at heart.
I was a bit astounded and much thrilled by Yaya undaunted defiance to question her past co-host Niall Gillett on the most recent show (Oct 28, 2012). Gillett was obviously dancing around her questions. At one point, Gillett was asked to estimate what percentage of the attendants at the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) consultation was in a position to critically contribute to the discussion. His response was that he wa…

Purple Movement General Meeting

On Sunday October 21, 2012, youths from the Purple Movement held a general public meeting to inform the community of their status, structure, and goals. There were about 20 persons in attendance. The small number of turn out is linked to the heavy rains throughout most of the day. 

The Executive consists of about 15-18 members. One or two of them were unable to attend on that day. They have formed several managerial posts such as president, vice president, treasurer, public relations personnel, research committee, and entertainment committee, etc. 

To be honest, my perception is that the group is still in the process of taking shape and identifying it's most strategic goal. But one thing is certain, they want to do their best to make a positive change. I am of the opinion that the community is strongly discontented with the prevalent crime and that we as young people need to be that voice for the masses, and reinforce the idea that we deserve better.   

One central aspect to the exec…

El Cayo Town

Cayo and Benque Viejo were declared towns on Oct 19, 1904. That's 108 years ago. 

CHRONOLOGY OF HISTORICAL EVENTS IN  THE SETTLEMENT OF EL CAYO Presented on the Occasion of the Centennial Vigil 1783 – 1950 by Elias A. Awe
Following Dr. Jaime Awe’s lucid presentation on the Early Hunters of the Pleistocene Age roaming this area, up to the times of the Mayan Empire, I will now cite other important dates and events in our history, which had an impact in our area, leading up to 1950.
1783 - 1803: Woodcutters harvested all the mahogany trees that were close to the riverbank.  Consequently, in 1803 they began to haul the logs with oxen; and in this way they were able to harvest mahogany trees as far as 5 to 10 miles from the riverbank.  Before the introduction of oxen, Baymen labor was employed to haul the logs to the riverbank. The log fellers went to the forest around November/ December each year.  The men camped in the forest until the beginning of the rainy season in the following year – …

Article on UB Hist Dept

The History and Anthropology program at UB endured many challenges before it was established. Many persons in government and in the administration did not want a history program be established. One must ask why? Why did the nationalist leaders and government do more to estalish the teaching of history?  Were they afraid of Belizeansinterrogating the past as some have suggested? At current, there is some talks that the history program is not economically feasible and some have suggested that it be closed. The students and alumni of the program have submitted a letter to the president of UB requesting clarifications on this matter. 
He who controls the present, controls the past. He who controls the pastcontrols the future. by George Orwell.

Here's an interesting article on the development of the history program from Amandala

AT LAST – A UB HISTORY DEPARTMENT Editorial— 16 August 2007 Seemingly in full campaign mode, the ruling People’s United Party has announced, through Minister of…

People on the Move for Justice

Introduction Since the recent murders in the Twin Towns, people in the Cayo district, and indeed across the country, have become increasingly vocal about their concerns to reduce, and if possible end, the hideous crimes afflicting our society.
I extend my sincerest sympathies to all Belizeans who have had to experience criminal activity, especially to the families who have lost their loved ones recently in San Ignacio, particularly the Martinez and Lowe families.  No number of demonstrations, no whipping of criminals, no person hanged, will ever be able to heal the void left in the lives. The reason for standing up against crime is really to make sure that more families do not experience the hurt, frustration, suffering, and emptiness such families have had to bear.
Belizeans are on the move advocating for change. This does not constitute a movement. It is an early stage. It can either become something episodic and die off or mature and become effective in its cause. I hope it becomes t…