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Battlefield Park restored

“This park was never really a park; it was a gathering place to bring our people together. And so when you look at the design of the park, it is to pay respect to that history,” said Belize City Mayor Darrell Bradley.
The Mayor made the remarks on Wednesday at the opening ceremonies for the newly re-designed Battlefield Park, that is located in the heart of downtown Belize city.
Mayor Bradley, in keeping pace with the historical role that Battlefield Park has played in the country’s life remarked: “Our very own Belizean nation emerged from the place where we stand today,” adding for context, “George Price spoke here; Phillip Goldson spoke here, Antonio Soberanis spoke here. The labor movement was birthed here. The independence movement was birthed here.”
“The renovated park will serve as a celebration of our renewal and our transformation.”
Mayor Bradley said that the park has been in use since the early 1600’s.
“The first record of the use of this park was from 1638.”
Battlefield Park, from then on has been a symbol of our people to demonstrate and protest against oppression and to advocate for the rights of our Belizean people, he emphasized.
The redesign of the park, is “to pay respect to its history” and is somewhat of the nucleus of the idea to begin the move to reclaim public space is part of a much wider effort to reclaim downtown Belize City.
The mayor again, stressed his vision for the development of the waterside from St. John’s College to reemphasized
The Mayor thanked the businesses in the downtown area that were supportive of the effort to remodel the park and in particular, the Belize Bank, where some of the meetings were held when the project was just an idea, Hofius Store and James Brodies, were also mentioned by name.
Battlefield Park was done by International Environment Limited, who acted as consultants, designers and engineers for the project. The company was represented at the opening ceremony by Daniel Arguellas.
Mayor Bradley thanked Arguellas for providing the technical advice, adding that, “they led the discussion in the urban planning of the downtown areas.”
Following the Mayor’s address and the cutting of the ribbon, declaring the park officially opened, the ceremony moved to the unveiling of the bronze bust of Belize’s great labor leader, Antonio Soberanis, whose eighty-six-year-old son, Antonio Canuto Soberanis Jr., along with Mayor Bradley and City Councilor Kevin Singh unveiled the massive look-alike bust of his father.
Soberanis said that he is one hundred percent pleased and satisfied with Stephen Okeke’s bust of his father.
“Mr. Okeke did not make it all by himself, he consulted myself and other members of the family,” Soberanis said.
City Hall acquired the Soberanis bust for $25,000, that were contributions from citizens and businesses who had looked favorably obtaining Okek’s bust, from its creator, the artist Stephen Okeke, who remains unmatched in his creation of public visual art in Belize.
The labor leader Soberanis has become Okeke’s fourth major sculpture on permanent display in the country, following those of George Price, Phillip Goldson, Drums of My Fathers adorning the entrance to Dangriga town.
The larger than life size bust of Soberanis is mounted almost in the middle of northern entrance to the park, which has been redesigned with walkways from Albert Street to Regent Street.
Apart from the bust of Soberanis, a fountain, with sprays reaching about 10 feet in the air, adds to the visual aesthetics of the redesigned park that is complemented by dozens of flowering plants, benches and commercial booths.
The redesigned Battlefield Park, with new, wide spaces makes for the full scale facade of the buildings in the downtown area, and in particular the Supreme Court building, adding a new, visual richness to the downtown landscape.

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