Latest — 21 September 2018 — by Rowland A. Parks
National Service Day held in remembrance of Rt. Hon. George Price

BELIZE CITY, Wed. Sept. 19, 2018– Today marked seven years since the Father of Belize’s Independence, Right. Honorable George Cadle Price, passed away and was laid to rest at the Lord Ridge Cemetery in a massive state funeral that saw thousands of Belizeans line the streets of the old capital to get a glimpse of the funeral procession for the man who is credited as one of the founders of the nationalist movement that led Belize to independence in September 1981.

This morning, a number of PUP executive members and supporters converged on the Lord Ridge Cemetery to pay their respect to Price, who was Belize’s first national hero, in a wreath- laying ceremony.

Master of ceremonies for the occasion was Rene Villanueva and the officiating minister was the Anglican Bishop Philip Wright.

Relatives of Price reflected on the great love he had for his life’s work and the humility with which he led the People’s United Party and Belize to political independence.

The ceremony was especially moving when recordings of Price reciting one of his poems and a 1965 speech he delivered at a graduation ceremony were played. In the speech, Price is heard referring to the country as Belize and its citizens as Belizeans long before the country officially became Belize.

Emilio Zabaneh, one of George Price’s grandnephews, remarked, “I have reflected over and over on the life of honorable George Price, born on 1919. The first thirty years of his life was a preparation for his work ahead. Uncle George was the oldest of the two brothers, but he was nurtured not only by his mother but also by older sisters. When I [think] about his strategic placement in the line of children in his family, even this becomes so significant in whom he became as a man.”

One of Price’s nieces, Leni Jo Usher, also spoke about him: “He strived to create a Belizean identity by bringing us together as a people regardless of the village, town or city from which we came. When he was alive he visited the populace at their homes despite their political persuasion. He was accepted by most, rejected by some and respected by most,” she said.

Former Prime Minister, Rt. Hon. Said Musa said, “George Price led by example.”

“Many, I can recall, would see this gentleman when he was seen walking from his little house in Belmopan to his office. He would go along on the sidewalks picking up garbage with people on the side of the road. That is leading by example,” Musa said.

PUP leader Hon. John Briceno remarked that, “On this day we take a time to reflect on the work that Mr. Price did for us. He served this country unselfishly and he can always be that example of what people expect from their leaders, a person that is humble, caring, loves and genuinely wants to serve the people. …left us, to take that time out, do some reflections and at the same time to do some kind of activity to try to honor the life of Mr. Price.”

After the wreath-laying ceremony at Lord Ridge Cemetery, the PUP leader and supporters headed over to Dolphin Park, where, along with Belize City mayor Bernard Wagner, they planted trees and served lunch to a number of Belize City Council workers. In the afternoon, the Caribbean Shores area representative, Hon. Kareem Musa, planted trees and painted benches in Dolphin Park as a tribute to Price’s legacy of service to the people.

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