Photo: Fr. Jeremy Zipple blessing the grave of the Rt. Hon. George Price
by Charles Gladden
BELIZE CITY, Tues. Sept. 19, 2023
Today, Tuesday, September 19, marks 12 years since the Father of the Nation, the Rt. Hon. George Cadle Price, passed away in 2011.
To honor the memory of Price, Belize celebrated National Service Day and held the annual wreath-laying ceremony, which was officially implemented as part of the National September Celebrations in 2021.
Government dignitaries in attendance at the ceremonies included Minister of Public Service, Hon. Henry Charles Usher who, as in previous years, served as the master of ceremonies; CEO of the Ministry of Education, Dian Maheia, who represented the Governor General H.E. Ms. Froyla Tzalam; Mayor Bernard Wagner; Chief Justice Hon. Madam Louise Blenman; Justice Minnet Hafiz Bertram; Chairman of the National Celebrations Committee, Hon. Francis Fonseca; the Leader of the Opposition, Hon. Shyne Barrow; and Deputy Prime Minister of Belize, Hon. Cordel Hyde.
“Today, as we convene at the father of our nation’s resting place, we honor his legacy! Indeed, his is an exemplary one that is glorified by the core philosophy with which he led, which is, of course, service and national unity. He was a trail-blazing leader, both at home and on the international scene; a David amongst the Goliaths, and a phoenix in the turbulent Americas. At home, we had both respect and love for him, as he was not only a discerning statesman, but also a leader with a patently intimate touch and an interminable marriage to a life of service,” said Mayor of Belize City, Bernard Wagner
Also sharing remarks, Deputy Prime Minister Hyde said, “We gather here each year to remember the great soul; to honor a man who left this earth better than he found it; to commemorate a man who figured out a way out of no way. A quiet, reticent man. He led [us to] independence with all our territory intact, in the face of an oftentimes belligerent neighbor who to this day still claims more than half of our territory.”
Hyde continued his speech by reflecting on what Price would have said in today’s Belize, “I often think about what he would say if he were living in these times. I believe he’d probably say a prayer for us [in] this new Belize, where parents can be too taken up with their vanity and our children to mindless consumers of the social media tragedy; this new Belize, where we are deeply divided and go at each other’s throats in a New York minute; where oftentimes disagreements devolve into a vicious takedown and open violence where our young men kill each other at will. He’d say a prayer because he was a prayerful man. He’d pray to the Almighty to please protect and preserve Belize, our beloved country, that we be preserved in union and peace.”
Grandniece of Rt. Hon. George Cadle Price and the Principal of Belize High School, Jamie Usher shared an excerpt from one of Price’s speeches, entitled “Appointment with History” which was first read in August 1962.
“We are propelled by our will and the forces of history to do our part in launching a new nation into the swift-flowing stream of an ever-shrinking world community. We are caught up in the crux of an exciting, yet demanding period of chance, and it is our lot to mold the age. Destiny calls us to do more, to rise to the occasion and to inspire the next generation of leaders,” she said.
Laying wreaths at the Rt. Hon. George Cadle Price’s grave were DPM Hyde; CEO Dian Maheia; Mayor Bernard Wagner; Hon. Shyne Barrow; Chief Justice Hon. Madam Louise Blenman jointly with Justice Minnet Hafiz Bertram; Hon. Francis Fonseca; and Jamie Usher on behalf of the Price family.