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SELVYN WALFORD YOUNG, COMPOSER OF THE MUSIC FOR THE BELIZE NATIONAL ANTHEM


Selvyn Walford Young was born on February 25, 1899 in Belize where he received his early education before emigrating to Chicago, Illinois in 1921.


Dr.Young, who was born into a family where everyone played a musical instrument, began his musical career at the age of six. His main instrument was the violin. He became Concert Master and later Conductor of the British Honduran Concert Symphony Orchestra.


By the time of  his emigration to the US, he had already received the ACVM, LVCM, and PVCM Degrees in Music from the Victoria College of Music in London, England. In Chicago, he studied at the Chicago Music College and completed his PH.D. Degree at DePaul University.


Dr. Young served as Music Professor with Chicago Board of Education for twenty years and was music instructor with the Chicago Park District. He conducted the nationally known Young String Ensemble and was also a member of the Pilzen. Park Symphony Orchestra and the City Symphony Orchestra.


Among his many compositions was the music for ‘Land of the Gods”, the lyrics of which were written by his friend S.A. Haynes. This song was adopted ( with minor changes) by the British Honduran Government as the country’s National Anthem.


His other compositions included “Bless Thy Name,” ‘My Gift,’ (dedicated to his wife, Eleanor), and ‘Love Divine.’


Dr. Young died on May 21, 1977 in Chicago, Illinois.



GEORGE PRICE HONORED


The former Prime Minister of Belize, George Price, received the highest award of the Caribbean Community, the Order of the Caribbean Community (OCC) in February 2001. He was recognized for his outstanding contributions to the development of the Caribbean region.


George Price was Premier of Belize (formerly British Honduras) from 1964 to 1981. In 1981, he became Prime Minister on the attainment of independence by Belize. Price was dominant in the politics of the country for over 50 years.


 His lifestyle has been a frugal one. An "austere onetime Jesuit seminarian," he typed policy papers on the reverse side of old campaign flyers, and the Land Rover in which he traversed the country was very old.


 During his tenure as head of government he negotiated a settlement with neighboring Guatemala which was vigorously pressing a territorial claim against Belize and was at times seemingly prepared to take military action against the country. 


He is considered the "Father of Independence" of Belize and was honored with the first ever National Hero of Belize decoration at an official tribute on Tuesday, September 19, 2000.


ORIGIN OF THE NAME BELIZE 


There are several possibilities:

(1)  The name is a corruption of the Spanish pronunciation of the name "Wallace." (It was, in fact, the camp set up by a Scottish captain, Peter Wallace that became Belize City).

(2)  It was derived from the Mayan word "belix" which means "muddy water."

(3)  It was derived from the Mayan word "belikin" which means "land that faces the coast."

(4)  It was derived from the French word "balise" which refers to the beacon which guided the pirates back home at night.


THE CAYES OF BELIZE


Belize's barrier reef is a natural wonder, surpassed only by the Great Barrier Reef of Australia. Called "one of the richest ecosystems on the planet," it is punctuated by 200-odd beautiful islands called cayes (pronounced "keys").


The word caye is a corruption of the Spanish word cayo, which means islet. 


THE BAYMEN OF BELIZE


The first recorded European settlement was established in 1638 by shipwrecked British sailors. These settlers were later joined by disbanded British soldiers after the the capture of Jamaica from Spain in 1655, traders and pirates. Apart from harrassing the Spanish galleons carrying gold, silver, and hardwoods from Central America to Europe, their main activity was the cutting of logwood ( used in the making of a textile dye) and the prized hardwood mahogany. 


This motley group came to call themselves "Baymen" after the Bay of Honduras. Spain often attacked the Baymen, who were, as far as Spain was concerned, on Spanish territory. However, the Spanish signed treaties in 1763 and 1786 allowing the British to continue to harvest timber in exchange for protection against pirates preying on the Spanish galleons. 


In 1798, a small group of British soldiers and Baymen defeated the Spanish in a skirmish on St. George's Caye. After this encounter, Spain ceased claiming territorial rights to Belize. 


The Baymen are celebrated in Belize's national anthem, part of which is as follows:


Arise! ye sons of the Baymen's clan,

Put on your armour, clear the land!

Drive back the tyrants, let despots flee -

Land of the Free by the Carib Sea!


Belize National Anthem in Creole
(as translatedfrom the original English version by Leela Vernon)

O, Lan a di free bai di Kyaribeeyan See
Wi korij wi plej fi kip yu free
Unu tairant kyaahn stay ya; unu despots hafu goh
Fahn disya plays a demokrasi.
Wi ansesta blod don bles disya grong
Dats wai wi wahn free; nohmoh slayv wi wahn bee.

Koaros:
Git op – aal weh kohn fahn di Baymen klan
Put aan unu aama; difen disya lan
Jraiv bak di enimi; unu enimi hafu goh fahn ya!
Fahn wi lan a di free bai di Kyaribeeyan See.

Naycha don bles – mek yu rich rich rich
Oava mongtin ahn vali weh graas ron gud
Wi ansestaz, di Baymen, schrang ahn brayv
Jraiv bak di enimi; kip dehn weh fahn ya.
Fahn prowd Rio Hondo tu oal Saastoon
Chroo koaral reef, oava bloo lagoon
Kip wach wid di dehn aynjel, di staarz ahn moon
Kaa freedom wahn kohn sotay tumaaro noon.

(Ripeet Koaros)


BELIZE JOTTINGS