By Jem Smith
It was a historic morning on Thursday, May 27 as the country’s second female and the Commonwealth’s first Indigenous Governor General was inducted. Her Excellency (H.E.) FroylaT’zalam was installed at the Government House in Belize City where the country’s most distinguished guests sat to witness the occasion. Originally from the southernmost district of the country, H.E. T’zalam traveled quite the ways for her legacy to be written into our country’s history. A woman of Mayan heritage, T’zalam originally hails from the village of San Antonio, Toledo. There and all across the country, she has made a name for herself and her career, working as an anthropologist and cultural archivist. Most recently, she has worked with the Sarstoon/Temash Institute for Indigenous Management (SATIIM). While she has now given up her role as Executive Director of SATIIM, she will assume a greater responsibility to represent the larger Belizean people.
Her appointment as the country’s most senior diplomat and representative of the Crown comes after former Governor General H. E. Sir Colville Young demitted office in April. In her inaugural speech to the nation, she thanked the former Governor General and his wife, Lady Young, for their years of dedicated service to Belize, which has spanned close to three decades. His many accomplishments during his tenure could not all be highlighted, but T’zalam says that it was his love and service to Belize’s music and culture that truly affected her the most. While she is a woman of Mopan Mayan descent, she says that her role will be to represent the many Belizeans across this great land. She says that she intends to use her office to unify people of all backgrounds and cultures, to achieve together building a nation that can overcome challenges.
Ensign Melissa Jones of the Belize Coast Guard has been assigned as the new Governor General’s aide-de-camp. This is another historic occasion, with Jones being the first female aide-de-camp to be assigned to a Governor General. This is also a proud moment for the Belize Coast Guard as the aide-de-camp is generally selected from the Belize Defence Force.