This page is dedicated to the RT Honorable George Cadle Price (Jan 15, 1919- September 19, 2011. He is the father of the nation of Belize. He led Belize to Independence 30 years ago, September 21, 1981.
This is a video of his death announcement on Lovefm.
Here are some photos and a video taken on that day. The video is the procession of the body, family and friends of George Price from the Bliss to Holy Redemeer Cathedral.
Address by Hon. Dean O. Barrow Prime Minister of
I look out at this great crowd of mourners today. I think of all those that have filed past the casket, signed the tribute books, lined the streets, and thronged the Cathedral on Saturday. And I know this is exactly the way it should be. Thousands of grateful Belizeans saying goodbye to the avatar of the nation! It is destiny fulfilled. What Mr Price strove for all his life, he has been able to produce in his death. We are now a country totally united. United in homage to our National Hero, and his creed of one
I see the members of Mr. Price's family. I see the sisters, and the nieces and the nephews, and the grand-nieces and the grand-nephews, and it is to them I speak first. I am reminded that this clan of which Mr Price was the foremost exemplar, is a very distinguished one. As political and national leader, no one could surpass Mr Price. But other members of this family, in their own right, are and have been fine contributors to our country, successes in their various professions and callings, similar to Mr Price in his. The point I am trying to make is that he must have been just as proud of you as you were of him. My heartfelt condolences to all of you!
Then I recognize the presence of the foreign dignitaries, the Ministers and Ambassadors come to pay their respects. I also contemplate the many messages of sympathy and solidarity sent by Heads of State, Heads of Government and Heads of International Institutions. These include President Alvaro Colom of Guatemala; President Daniel Ortega of Nicaragua; President Raul Castro of Cuba; President Bharrat Jagdeo of Guyana; Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham of the Bahamas; Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit of Dominica; ex-President Jimmy Carter of the US; former Prime Minister PJ Patterson of Jamaica; and IDB President Luis Alberto Moreno. And all of this causes me to recollect that Mr. Price was as much global as he was local. The leaders in Central America, in the
In trying to reflect on the man that he was, I had recourse to a sketch of
Also, there was the Spartan nature of his personal life and his remarkable unity of activism and contemplation. "He says his prayers before going to bed", Naipaul tells us. "He is up at five and goes to mass at 5.30. He does not worry through to political decisions; they come to him after a night of prayer and rest; and he is in his office punctually at eight". Even his enemies, according to Naipaul, admitted that neither age nor power changed George Price. He was not interested in money; he was known to give away money. And, of course, he was ceaselessly touring the country in that Land Rover, always greeting, always checking.
Is it any wonder that he came to be called the Father of the Nation? Visionary that he was, George Price himself tells us that he fixed his mind on independence from the time in 1949 when the Governor used his Reserve Power to devalue the
For the record, I want to rehearse some of the historical high points of this unparalleled career. George Price was the country's only First Minister (1961-1963); the country's only Premier (1964-1981). He entered politics in 1944, and lost his first election. But he'd been bitten by the bug. And as he put it, at that point even if a Doctor had told him he needed to give up politics for his health, he wouldn't have done so. He won six terms to the Belize Town Council after that first defeat. Together with Johnny Smith, Leigh Richardson and our other National Hero Philip Goldson, he formed the People's United Party on 29th September, 1950. He was leader from 1956 to 1996. Of course, he was our first Prime Minister from 1981 to 1984, and again from 1989 to 1993. He built this Capital City of Belmopan, and he established Social Security in
My closest encounter with George Price was when we were together on a bi-partisan delegation. We had travelled to Roatan to meet with
The second thing I took away from that trip was how complex and canny he was as a leader. He was disarmingly simple in his exchanges with the Guatemalan President- I think it was Vinicio Cerezo. But his charm belied a steel trap mind that absorbed every detail of what the Guatemalans were saying. He would immediately catch them up if they displayed the slightest inconsistency in their positions. He was also immovable on any point of contention that he thought did not favour
I have already suggested that Mr. Price was able to combine immersion in the daily business of running a country and shaping a nation, with an unceasing intellectual curiosity. And his search for new knowledge and new ideas, was never limited to the purely political. Actually, he was something of a renaissance man. He wrote poetry, played the piano, loved classical music and the arts, and read widely in the sciences, theology, philosophy and literature. The PUP will never have another leader like George Price. But then the country will never have another Prime Minister like George Price.
I cannot end this short reflection on Mr. Price without some comment on his complete faith in God. While he didn't wear his piety on his sleeve, his belief was absolute. Graham Greene was, as I understand it, one of his favourite authors and an acquaintance and perhaps even occasional correspondent. But the tortured questionings and falls from grace of Greene's whiskey priest, were not for Mr. Price. He had no doubt of the need to always do right, and of the omniscience and omnipotence of his eternal Creator.
Naipaul closes that 1969 piece with a story from Mr Price. "I have this recurring dream. I am in church. Someone is saying mass-Turton, my old employer, or Pinks, one of his managers-and I wonder why I, who would so much like to be up there, am not, and that old sinner is"
Well, let no one doubt that Mr. Price is up there now, united at long last and saying mass with his Almighty God.
Frankie Reneau's Hymn to Belize becomes instant classic
Monday, 26.09.2011, 07:47pm (GMT-6)
Belize’s musical phenomenon, Francis Reneau, has produced a symphonic Hymn to Belize, which was performed for the first time to thunderous applause to honour the 30th anniversary of Belize’s independence.
As the tribute ended with breathtaking crescendo of drum, brass, string, and wind instruments and an ensemble of 96 massed voices drawn from every corner of Belize.
The singers came from the Belize Choral Society, the St. John’s Cathedral Choir, the Wesley Choir, reinforced withand singing groups from Corozal, Orange Walk, Cayo, Belize City and Dangriga.
The captivated audience rose to its feet with one accord, cheered and clapped for a full minute.
“I believe it is my best work to date”, Francis later told The Reporter. “I feel truly proud of it”.
And proud he should be, because everybody else who heard the inspired music and the powerful lyrics was captivated beyond words.
The miracle is that such a work could be performed in Belize in the first place. The string section, bolstered by the violins and cellos of the Pallotti String Orchestra, performed magnificently, taking the melody and celebrating with it.
The brass section, which was challenging because of some of the high notes and counterpoint rhythm, proved magnificent.
The drums and cymbals, including a prominent steel band bass, put on quite a show, and the massed choir gave such a spectacular performance it reminded many of Handel’s Messiah, not in melody but in rhythm and the powerful blend of voices and instruments.
Later Frankie confessed that he had been moved to tears while composing the words and music.
“I knew what I had, but I did not know how it was going to turn out,” he said.
“I wasn’t sure I would find the talent in Belize to produce it.”
Not only did he find the talent, he discovered new ones in the person of Mr. Felix Hernandez, a music teacher at Pallotti, who produced a tenor voice of such clarity and resonance that he shone like a leading man. His companion, Mrs. Claudia Henderson, a housewife from Belmopan, rose to the occasion as leading lady.
The lyrics, composed by Frankie Reneau, powerful in themselves, provided a new dimension when combined with the massed choir and the symphony of sounds.
Frankie spoke of the possibility of producing a CD, maybe even a DVD, but there are no immediate plans for this.
A Hymn to Belize
by Francis Reneau
Arise ye Sons of the Baymen
Put on your armour
To God we offer thanks & praise
With heart and soul and voice we sing.
Arise, arise you sons and daughters
Arise and sing, Children of Belize
In celebration let us sing
Sing with gladness to celebrate this day
This day we thank our nation and our people
Long live Belize!
In acclamation we are gathered Here to honour you
Honour with our songs of thanks and praise.
Give thanks to God for all His blessings
His many blessings,
Thanks be to God
Give thanks for all his children here
We give thanks that the future generations shall inherit.
That future generations shall inherit
That future generations shall this land inherit.
I pledge to thee my country
My love and loyalty I give Land of my birth, my home
Deep in my heart you live.
Forward from strength to strength you go
Your many blessings here I do proclaim
With heads held high and hearts aglow
We proudly sing your name.
Belize, beloved copuntry We freely give ourselves to you
In deep humility
We stand before you
Belize my home, my country
O land from which all blessings flow
United all we stand
Together, hand in hand
We greet the dawning of a better day
Throughout this land!
Land of peace
Land so beautiful
God’s blessings on this nation
And its people
That we may all united be!
Jaguera libre laru barana!
Land of the free by the Carib Sea
Tierra de la libertad!
One in strength!
One in pride in our heritage
We shall never be divided
As we build our nation Strong and free.
The people call your name
We celebrate and sing today.
Da fi you
Da fi me
D fi me
Da fi you
Da fu we!
Da fu you, da di me, The people call your name, Belize.
Monday October 3, 2011
George Price: Politician who guided Belize to a state of stable independence
Monday October 3, 2011
The population of Belize is about a third of a million, composed mainly of Creoles and indigenous Mayans.
They regard themselves as guardians of some of the most luxuriant and pristine rainforest in all the Americas. In centuries gone by, the steamy port of Belize City was famous as being the entrepôt for the highest quality mahogany. Wandering round the cemetery of the Anglican and Church of Scotland churches, I was moved by the familiar British names on the gravestones of scores of young men snatched away in their late teens and early 20s by the dreaded yellow fever, and who paid with their lives for their involvement in the lucrative mahogany trade.
In 1970, the seat of government moved out of Belize City to a new capital being constructed at higher altitude in the foothills, at Belmopan. It was here one evening in 1977, days after a meeting of the European Parliament/Latin American Parliamentary group in Mexico City, that I was taken by the British High Commissioner for an evening at the home of George Price, who was then Premier under the system of internal self-rule, and later became Prime Minister of Belize, as an independent state within the Commonwealth, from 1981-1984 and again from 1989-93. An indelible memory of this bachelor's modest home is a variety of simple Mayan mementos, and how his guarded reception had suddenly warmed on hearing that I had made a point of going to the great Mayan remains at Chichen Itza on the Yucatan peninsula in Mexico.
Price's mother, Irene Secilia Escalante, a proud descendent of Mayans, whose empire had dominated Central America, had imbued Price with a sense of his Central American heritage. Twenty years younger than his Creole father William Price, she imbued him with a sense of the splendour of the civilisations of pre-conquest America. At his home that night he was to ignite my lifelong interest in pre-Columbian art through his explanation of the relevance of his far-from-costly artefacts.
His parents sent him to the Holy Redeemer primary school run by the Jesuits in Belize City – "the Jesuits caught me young, and actually I owe my strict and occasionally cruel teachers a lot. They gave me a good grounding before I went to St John's College High School, and an interest in Catholic social justice as encapsulated in the encyclical Rerum Novarum."
On leaving school in 1935, he became a private secretary and errand boy to a timber trader, Robert Sydney Turton, who later generously gave him time off to train for the Jesuit priesthood at seminary in Mississippi and later in Guatemala City. However, Price and a group of his former St John's classmates were caught up in the protests of timber and banana workers against their meagre rewards and conditions and decided to participate in politics rather than following his intention of becoming a Jesuit priest.
In 1947 Price and some of his friends won seats on the Belize City Council. They created a newspaper, the Belize Billboard, and gained the influential sympathy of Arthur Creech Jones, Colonial Secretary in the Atlee government. The importance of the support he gained from Fenner Brockway and other like-minded Labour politicians, he told me, could not have been exaggerated. They gave him the confidence to found a Peoples Unity Party, taking in Creoles, indigenous Mayans and a number of minorities.
In 1954 in Belize's first general election following adult suffrage the PUP swept the board. I quizzed Price on his relations with Guatemala, whose insurgents were the cause of the presence of British troops in significant numbers. He was coy. "I knew the Guatemalans well," he said. "I had studied under the Jesuits in Guatemala City. They are not the enemy you British think they are. I had good relations with them at that time."
In 1957, during the negotiations on constitutional reform, it became apparent that Price was in secret contact with the Guatemalans, and therefore he had an uneasy relationship with successive – somewhat unimaginative, it has to be said – British governors of British Honduras, as the state of Belize then was.
In 1979 Price sought and obtained a mandate for full independence, and a conference was held two years later in which Price made concessions to Guatemala which were not acceptable to a significant part of the population when he returned home. Price was forced to renege on the Heads of Agreement, the document proposing a solution to the Guatemalan claim to Belizean territory, which had been laboriously worked out in London, and it was hardly surprising that the Guatemalans broke off relations and put military pressure on the border with the young Commonwealth state.
Price told me in a letter that part of the trouble was that his old friends in Guatemala City had either died off or had lost influence and office. Uncomfortable though it was, he had to rely on the presence of some 2,000 British troops posted on the Guatemalan border. (When I visited the British units, the commanding officer told me there was no better jungle training: some of the squaddies were more picturesque in their language, referring to the snakes and insects which were part of their daily lives.)
In 1981 Price became the first Prime Minister of the new Commonwealth country (he was made a Privy Councillor in 1982), only to be defeated by his conservative opposition in 1984. Yet he reformed his party and swept all before him in 1989, remaining Prime Minister until 1993. From 1998 to 2003 he held the emeritus position of senior minister in the PUP administration of Said Musa. George Price will go down in the history of the Commonwealth as the architect of the metamorphosis of the colony of British Honduras into the generally successful independent Belize.
George Cadle Price, politician: born Belize City 15 January 1919; Prime Minister of Belize 1981-84 and 1989-93; died Belize City 19 September 2011.
National AnthemO. Land of the Free by the Carib Sea,
Our manhood we pledge to thy liberty!
No tyrants here linger, despots must flee
This tranquil haven of democracy
The blood of our sires which hallows the sod,
Brought freedom from slavery oppression's rod,
By the might of truth and the grace of God,
No longer shall we be hewers of wood.
Arise! ye sons of the Baymen's clan,
Put on your armour, clear the land!
Drive back the tyrants, let despots flee -
Land of the Free by the Carib Sea!
Nature has blessed thee with wealth untold,
O'er mountains and valleys where prairies roll;
Our fathers, the Baymen, valiant and bold
Drove back the invader; this heritage hold
From proud Rio Hondo to old Sarstoon,
Through coral isle, over blue lagoon;
Keep watch with the angels, the stars and moon;
For freedom comes tomorrow's noon.
National PrayerAlmighty and Eternal God, who through Jesus Christ
has revealed Your Glory to all nations, please protect
and preserve Belize, our beloved country.
God of might, wisdom and justice, please assist our
Belizean government and people with your Holy Spirit
of counsel and fortitude.
Let your light of Your divine wisdom direct their plans
and endeavours so that with Your help we may attain
our just objectives. With Your guidance, may all our
endeavours tend to peace, social justice, liberty, national
happiness, the increase of industry, sobriety and useful knowledge.
We pray, O God of Mercy, for all of us that we may be
blessed in the knowledge and sanctified in the
observance of Your most holy law, that we may be
preserved in union and in peace which the world
itself cannot give. And, after enjoying the blessings of
this life, please admit us, dear Lord, to that eternal
reward that You have prepared for those who love You.
This is the article with the photographs. Linda Crawford thanks for featuring the father of our nation as your September 2010 Spotlight.
This is a segment to honor and recognize outstanding Belizeans and their descendants for their accomplishment and contributions to life. As a proud Belizean, I believe it is imperative that we support and promote Belizeans both at home and abroad. You are an important part of our community. We hope we can inspire our children to reach for the stars.
You can nominate a candidate for Belizean Spotlight that you believe has excelled or contributed to our life.
Previous “Spotlight of the Month” can be found in the archives.
RT.HON GEORGE CADLE PRICE
On September 21, 2010, the nation of
On September 19, 2006, the Belize Post Office released a set of 5 stamps to commemorate the 25th Anniversary of Belize’s
Mr. Price as a young boy
As a young man in the 1940's
At the Seminary
Born on January 15, 1919 in a family that would have constituted a full football team, George was the third of eleven children. His early schooling at Holy Redeemer and
The Mother of Mr. Price
George Price entered into politics in 1944. With three days of preparation, he lost his first election. In 1947 however, he was elected to the Belize City Council and from 1958 to 1962 he was the Mayor of that Capital.
In protest against the devaluation of the British Honduran dollar in 1949, a few citizens, George Price included, formed the People’s Committee. Here was the start of the Peaceful, Constructive, Belizean Revolution. It was the forerunner of the Peoples United Party, officially established on September 29, 1950. 6 Years later, George Price was elected Party Leader. After leading the PUP to unprecedented 9 out of 11 electoral victories, George Price stepped aside as party leader in 1986, passing the mantle of a strong cohesive political force to his successor Said Musa, who led the party to victory at the polls in 1998 and 2003. His current title of Leader Emeritus is neither far-fetched nor unjustified. It is merited as much for his political feats as for his colossus of integrity, adoration and respect from a nation united in its diversity: a leadership model.
Mr. Price in the Pickstock Division of
Shaking hands with a lady on her steps
Wading through a river in Southern Belize
In 1958, the British authorities attempted to erode Mr. Price’s populism and popularity with charges of sedition. George Price, like the biblical David, fought back. The charges turned out to be a storm in a teacup, contributing further to his surging image and influence.
In the early 1960s, George Price advocated for moving the capital from
Mr. Price Addressing the United Nations
Shaking hands with boy at the Progresso Lagoon 1982
Mr. Price in a canoe
Pre-occupation with external relations was a constant from the outset of George Price’s political life. He envisioned an orientation to external entities that was much more complex than the colonial relationship with
George Price’s attributes, including his personification of
A rare photo of Mr. Price
Mr. Price in the 1970's
Riding his horse
Intertwined in his political quests is a soul that expresses itself in poetry and prose, equally committed to the cause of a self-reliant people. George Price’s penchant for poetry reveals a spiritual and romantic side of which the latter in real terms always seemed to have been subsumed by the former. His inventory of poetry and plays is quite astonishing and would be worthwhile as an anthology, if only we could persuade his modesty to ‘take a break’. It would no doubt begin or end with his charge to Belizeto Unite and Build Our Nation, immortalized as an ode to Belizean independence.
Mr. Price the avid reader
Working at his desk
Mr. Price at the Crooked
At the Crooked Tree Village Community Center with Chairman Rudolph Crawford 1970's
A twist of fate delivered the political platform rather than the pulpit as his instrument for serving the people of
RT. Hon. George Cadle Price with Belizean kids at 92 years old
I would like to thank Yasser Musa at The Image Factory for providing access to the materials and photos. I would also like to thank Mr. Elston Wade, Jr. for three of the photos.