‘Tings mih di pop’ in May in one of Belize’s oldest Kriol Communities in the Belize River Valley with the annual Flowers Bank 14 Honor Festival.
The festival is a production of the Village Council of Flowers Bank in collaboration with the National Institute of Culture and History (NICH) and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade. The 2nd Annual Honor Fest is to honor the 14 relentless men from the community, 12 of them black, who paddled down the Belize River to what was then called Belize Town, to cast their votes in a June 1st Public Meeting in 1797. End result 65-51, a difference of fourteen!
It was those men’s participation in that Public Meeting that allowed the Baymen to remain in Belize Town and defend the settlement against the Spanish invasion. The decision to stay led to the historic victory at the Battle of St. George’s Caye on September 10, 1798, over 212 years ago.
The festivities began on Saturday May 29th with opening ceremonies directed by emcee Emmerson Guild and speeches by National Kriol Council representatives Myrna Manzanares and Grace Simpson. Historian Francis Humphreys was the Keynote speaker and shed light on the enormous effects of the determination of those 14 men on Belizean history. NICH president Dianne Haylock opened the event and allowed for the two-day celebration of ‘Kulcha’ as locals and visitors enjoyed dances by the Flowers Bank Women’s Group, putting rhythm to the days their ancestors spent on plantations. School children from Lucky Strike Government School also had a go at entertaining the crowd with a beautifully orchestrated cultural presentation.
This weekend Flowers Bank had Fyaah Haats fuming as rice and beans, stew gibnut, and tamales were among the foods that filled well-anticipating bellies. Cricket matches, horseback riding, games and music occupied the days, days those 14 men would truly be honored by.
Written by Kimberly Timmons