Belize continues to lead the world in the number of public and bank holidays. For 2021 two new holidays have been added, George Price Day and Freedom Day (AKA Emancipation Day) via Statutory Instrument 311 dated 30 December 2020. The day that Latinos in Belize celebrate as Pan American Day, also known as Columbus Day and Día de la Raza, appears to have been excised. The new holidays add two long weekends to 2021, a total of eight.
On 11 January 2021, the government of Belize issued a press release further clarifying public and bank holidays. It is noted that per legal precedent, the list of public and bank holidays is published four months before the end of the preceding year. This to allow enough lead time for publishers and printers to publish accurate calendars. As it is now, all Belize calendars, public and private are wrong, having being printed in 2020. The confusion has come about as the government of Belize changed on 11 November 2020. And it subsequently set about changing the calendar on 30 December 2020 via a temporary law, a Statutory Instrument. See image below of the S.I. in the Government Gazette. Now after a special sitting of the House of Representatives, further adjustments have been made. Freedom Day has morphed to Emancipation Day. And it appears that Columbus Day, also know as Pan American Day and Día de la Raza, has been retained. But the fate of its future future name will be thrown to a committee. Here is the relevant press release:
“The Government of Belize hereby informs that starting this year, January 15 will be officially observed as a public and bank holiday in honour of the Rt. Hon. George Cadle Price, Belize’s first Prime Minister.
“At the Special Sitting of the House of Representatives on 8 January 2021, parliament passed a proposal made by Hon. Kareem Musa, the Minister responsible for public and bank holidays, for the installation of George Price Day and Emancipation Day. Belize will now join other Caribbean nations in the observance of Emancipation Day on August 1 to commemorate the emancipation of enslaved people in the Caribbean.
“Additionally, October 12, celebrated as Pan American Day, is to be renamed. A special committee will be established to determine the official list of public and bank holidays.
“The announcement of the official changes in the public and bank holidays will be done at a later time.”
Here is the official revised 2021 list.
PUBLIC AND BANK HOLIDAYS 2021 (Revised)
IT IS NOTIFIED for general information that public and bank holidays specified in the First and Second Schedules to Holidays Act, Chapter 289 of the Laws of Belize, Revised Edition 2011, will be observed on the following days during the year 2021 in accordance with section 3 of the said Act:-
Day Date Occasion
Friday January 1st New Year’s Day
Friday January 15th George Price Day
Monday March 8th National Heroes and Benefactors Day (in lieu of Tuesday, March 9th)
Friday April 2nd Good Friday
Saturday April 3rd Holy Saturday
Monday April 5th Easter Monday
Saturday May 1st Labour Day
Monday May 24th Sovereign’s Day/Commonwealth Day
Monday August 2nd Emancipiation Day in lieu of 1 August
Friday September 10th St. George’s Caye Day
Tuesday September 21st Independence Day
Tuesday 12 October Pan American Day (future name to be decided by a committee).
Friday November 19th Garifuna Settlement Day
Saturday December 25th Christmas Day
Monday December 27th Boxing Day (in lieu of Sunday, December 26th )
Hon. Kareem Musa
Minister of Home Affairs and New Growth Industries
(Minister Responsible for Holidays)