BELIZE CITY, Mon. Mar. 20, 2017–Family, friends and colleagues of former politician and attorney-at-law, Philip Palacio, poured into the St. Ignatius Church in Belize City for a mass of thanksgiving for his life.
The up-tempo celebration of his life was marked by the blending of Garifuna drums and the soulful presentations of a Garifuna choir.
During the early morning of March 7, Palacio a husband, father to four and a grandfather to one, passed away while receiving treatment at a medical facility at the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA).
Earlier this year he had been diagnosed with an advanced brain tumor and lung cancer.
In the People’s United Party (PUP), of which Palacio was a proud member, there was widespread consensus that he would be given the green light to contest the next general election in the Mesopotamia constitutency as he had previously done in 2012.
Today former Prime Minister, Said Musa; current PUP leader, John Briceño, and Deputy Party Leader of the PUP, Cordel Hyde, among other party officials made their way to pay their respects to Palacio.
Hyde read his eulogy:
“Philip Palacio, Sr. was born on January 25, 1974, to Mr. and Mrs. James Palacio, Sr. He was the last of a large family of siblings. His mom was 41 at the time he was born. His dad was 60. But Phil was healthy. He did everything early, learning to walk before 1, and talking by age 1 and a half. He attended school early, became a father relatively early, married early, and in the end, left us early. But along the way he made a mark like no other,” Hyde read.
He continued, “His father was a strict man, and Phil idolized him. The dad had a vision for his last son; he was very good friends with attorney Hubert Elrington, and he also wanted his boy to be an attorney. At an early age, the dad’s dream became the son’s dream, so much so that whenever there was any misunderstanding among the children, the matter would be taken to court, with an 8-year-old Phil presiding as judge.”
Hyde recalled that, “While Phil was in third form, tragedy struck, and the father passed away, leaving the young lad facing his first major hurdle…But he responded with the same quiet tenacity and serious study we had come to expect from Phil. He responded with academic excellence; and in 2003, he would go on to study law at the University of Guyana, where to date he is the only Belizean ever to have been awarded the prestigious Anne Blue Prize for the second-year student with the highest GPA.”
“I’ve known Phil for the better part of the last 38 years. We did Beginners up to Standard 1 together right here at St. Ignatius, along with Michael Peyrefitte, Zenaida Moya and Caleb Orosco. An all-star class if ever there was one. A real showboat class too when you think about it. But not Phil. In fact, in all the years I’ve known him, I never heard him angry. Never heard him talk hard. He didn’t need to be seen. He was content with just doing.” Hyde reminisced.
Hyde summed up Palacio as, “A quiet, understated but prolific fellow. Always calm and composed. Spoke so quietly sometimes you had to ask him to speak up. But much of what he said was profound and came from the heart. The Talmudic saying was never more true…What comes from the heart goes straight to the heart. He touched many hearts. It’s not what he did. It is said people will forget that. It’s how he made us feel. But admittedly, he did a lot…”
Hyde told Palacio’s friends and family that, “…all his life he was raging against time; as if he knew time was not his ally…”
According to the PUP deputy leader, when Palacio’s mother was pregnant with him, she was worried about giving birth at a late age and was encouraged by her friend Ms. Ramos. Twenty- seven years later, Palacio would go on to marry Ms. Ramos’ daughter, Anne Palacio.
“Phil left us early, but his was a life fulfilled,” asserted Hyde.