“On August 28, 1936, he (George Price) boarded a motor launch that would take him and his fellow seminarian and travelling companion, Facundo Castillo, up the mouth of the Haulover Creek where he would board a larger vessel for the journey to Florida. Then aged 17, he would not return to British Honduras until 1940.”
– pg. 34, GEORGE PRICE: A Life Revealed, by Godfrey P. Smith, Ian Randle Publishers, 2011
“The SEMIRAMIS was about a hundred feet long and built like a cutter to patrol the sea. The journey by boat was the only method of transportation to get to the US and the SEMIRAMIS the only vessel to make the 3-day run from British Honduras to Tampa, Florida.”
– pg. 35, ibid.
“After arriving in Tampa, George and Facundo took a bus to Bay St. Louis, Mississippi, a small, quiet coastal town of about 10,000 people nestled on the bay between New Orleans and Biloxi, Mississippi. They enrolled at the minor seminary at St. Augustine for young seminarians at the high school or junior college level. The minor seminary was located at the north end of the grounds and housed 50 minor seminarians. St. Augustine was a segregated seminary for black seminarians.”
– pg. 35, ibid.
The Rt. Hon. George Cadle Price was a secretive man. That is why the “authorized biography” of Mr. Price by Godfrey Smith will be so important and valuable for historians.
Mr. Price’s father was an officer in the colonial British Honduras military when the Ex-Servicemen returning from the Middle East World War I theater revolted for two days in July of 1919. Mr. Price’s father, William Cadle Price, would have been considered an opponent of the rebellious Ex-Servicemen in every respect.
But Mr. Price himself was a man who was very comfortable in the company of roots people, and, generally speaking, roots Belizeans loved him for his down-to-earth style.
Mr. Price did not encourage “upper class” Belizeans to separate themselves from roots Belizeans, and that is why you can discover something that has been referred to as “social engineering” in the housing areas that Mr. Price’s People’s United Party (PUP) developed on the Northside of Belize City. I am thinking specifically of what is called “King’s Park.” There are poor people living in between and among richer people in King’s Park. This was not accidental: it was a deliberate tactic of Mr. Price’s.
When I read Mr. Price’s biography and learned that he had attended a segregated black Roman Catholic seminary in Mississippi between 1936 and 1940, I said to myself that that must have been some kind of radical experience for someone who had grown up as “white” by the social yardstick of British Honduras in the 1930s.
In any case, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about the separation between classes which has increased markedly in Belize since Mr. Price’s time. I can see where privacy is something successful people treasure. But what about when privacy becomes isolation? It is said that “the poor are more.” We are looking at a socio-economic elitism which rules in the Belize of 2021.
There is a difference between the events which used to be held at the MCC Grounds, which was opened in 1960, I believe, and the BTL Park, which was built sometime after the newly elected United Democratic Party (UDP) took over the Barracks in the mid/late 1980s. The MCC Grounds and the BTL Park are near to each other in an area where expatriates used to live before self-government and independence. Today, it is mostly local higher ups who live there.
The sporting events at the MCC Grounds did not really violate the privacy of the higher ups, because the events were held during the day, mostly weekends, and then the crowds would go home, mostly to the Southside, for their nocturnal activities.
BTL Park, on the other hand, featured many nighttime concerts which were noisy and which often lasted into the wee hours of the morning. There were complaints from higher up Belizeans about the BTL Park.
The history of the “The Barracks,” going back to colonial days, is a story in itself. For instance, there used to be horse races on the Barracks. The Barracks was where Charles Lindbergh, the first man to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean, landed his airplane, in 1927, I believe. The Barracks was where Lt. Col. Fairweather opened the first radio station in British Honduras – ZIK-2. In September, St. George’s Caye Day used to be celebrated with athletic events on the Barracks by the seaside. The Barracks was so huge, there were at least three cricket games which could be played there simultaneously on weekends. The famous Newtown Club, with tennis courts, was located at the Barracks. So was the Belize Club for expatriates. I’m giving you a little of the Barracks history that I know: there’s a lot that I don’t know.
Anyway, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about those of our people who want to be left alone these days. Being alone residentially is not necessarily a guarantee that the criminals can’t get to you. These are days when the criminals own their own motor vehicles. Sometimes the criminals kidnap citizens and seize their vehicles.
I dream of open spaces for our children, and even for our senior citizens. Things have become congested, especially on the Southside. And on the Northside they took away the fabled Barracks. So what happened to the Marion Jones Sports Complex? There’s things you just can’t figure out, can you? So what is there for the children, and where do they play, higher ups?
I don’t have a problem with the privacy consideration. I’m a loner myself, and appreciate how delicious privacy can be. When privacy becomes isolation, however, when those with assets absolutely separate themselves from those who have nothing, there’s a sociological tension which grows and grows. This is something I’ve been thinking about a lot, and I thought I’d share my thoughts with you today.
Power to the people.