“I am from Belize and we are home to the second largest Barrier Reef in the world.” I am not exaggerating when I say that EVERY Belizean I met made me aware of this fact while studying at UWI Cave Hill, Barbados. The pride they all shared in this natural formation left me intrigued to say the least, and I decided I had to come to Belize. I later learned, during my stay in Belize that Belizeans are also VERY proud of their sovereignty as I experienced what can only be described as a September to Remember! It seemed as though overnight the country was transformed into different manifestations of red, white and blue. I am from Trinidad and Tobago and I can tell you never have I seen an ambulance with the national flag on its bonnet and I definitely have never seen one round about or building with in excess of twenty national flags painstakingly hoist and taken down every day. The way people responded to the national song commemorating the battle of St. George’s Caye is also worth mentioning. On one occasion, if I did not know better, I would have sworn it was a fete the way the people danced and waved their flags.
I must say however what struck me most during my internship with Oceana, was the myriad of natural and historic attractions in the country. Simply put Belize is a one stop shop! In less than 23,000km2 one can find magnificent marine formations in the form of the Blue Hole and the world’s second largest Barrier Reef which host rich marine life; the world’s only Jaguar preserve; a breathtaking rainforest home to diverse flora and fauna; Maya Ruins; hundreds of Cayes and so much more. Let’s be real- to have all of that in ONE country is a STEAL OF A DEAL!
Each country has something that makes it unique. As a proud Trinbagonian I can safely say our Carnival to my mind, and I am certain in the hearts and minds of many, is second to none. Likewise, Belize indeed lives up to its ascribed sobriquet as ‘The Jewel of the Caribbean.’ The attractions mentioned above complimented by the diversity of cultures, cuisine and the general warmth of this country’s people has left me with a Belize tabanca! (Or as Belizeans would say macoby). I was particularly elated to witness the announcement of the intention to table legislation putting into effect a moratorium on offshore oil exploration. My country, Trinidad and Tobago, serves as a cautionary tale of the possible disastrous effects of offshore oil on marine life. The moratorium therefore is a step in the right direction and it is my hope that all Belizeans continue to appreciate the beauty and importance of their natural treasures. Continue to #LoveAndProtectBelize #SaveTheReef and most importantly #SayNoToOffshoreOil.
Written by Safiya Moore
Safiya Moore is from the twin island Republic of Trinidad and Tobago. She is specifically from Tobago and has always had a particular fascination with the marine environment -which may be partly due to the fact that despite where one is located on the island, a beach is always just minutes away. Her fascination has since evolved into a self-made resolution to actively assist and advocate for the conservation of the marine environment to be specific and the general environment by extension. To this end, she decided to pursue law which to her mind suffices as one of the more efficient avenues for achieving protection and conservation of the environment. As an intern at Oceana Belize, she got her feet wet in the area of environmental protection and conservation – an experience which reaffirmed her belief that this area is undoubtedly the field for her. She is now in the final leg of her legal studies and in the future she looks forward to working with Oceana and/ or other organizations that share similar principles and the objective that WE MUST #SaveOurSeas.