Louis “Cuz” Sylvester, a former People’s United Party (PUP) stalwart, died at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital in Belize City on Thursday, March 6, of complications from a stroke that he suffered in 2008. Sylvester was 82.
In his political heyday, which lasted almost three decades, under the leadership of the late Rt. Hon. George C. Price, Sylvester dominated the Belize Rural South constituency. He served as Minister, holding various portfolios in former Prime Minister Price’s cabinets from the mid 1950’s.
Sylvester, in the course of his political career, had served as Minister of Agriculture, Minister of Public Utilities, and Minister of Communications and Local Government.
Considered a part of the PUP’s right wing, Sylvester left the PUP in 1984, after the party lost its first post-independence elections and the rivalry between the PUP’s right wing and left wing became more pronounced. He formed his own political party, but was less successful. Late in his life he joined the United Democratic Party and ran in a general election on their ticket.
At the time of his death, he was the Honorary Consul of the Russian Federation.
During last Friday’s sitting of the House of Representative, Prime Minister Dean Barrow paid tribute to Sylvester, saying, “He was one of the early politicians who rather than merely serving his people, became as one with his people, and those particularly in the communities of San Pedro and Caye Caulker will, I believe, always remember this. So if you would, Mr. Speaker, I would ask that we stand and show our respect.”
The PUP sent out a press release on Tuesday, March 11, expressing “our profound sadness at the passing of the Hon. Louis Sylvester.”
The release added, “Louis was a humble ‘people’s man,’ whose contributions to politics and development in Belize will not be forgotten.”
Funeral services will be held at Holy Redeemer Cathedral on Friday, March 14, at 10:00 a.m. An interment immediately follows in Caye Caulker.