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Jan 15, 2015

P.U.P. Celebrates Birthday of George Price

Nationally recognized as the father of the nation, George Price was remembered today by the party he led for four decades. Price passed away in 2011, but today he would have turned ninety-six. Present and past leaders, party faithful as well students took part in activities to pay homage to the leader who transformed the political landscape in Belize. The first stop was at the Lord Ridge Cemetery where Price was laid to rest; a choice he made to be among the people even in death. News Five’s Isani Cayetano reports.

 

Francis Fonseca, Party Leader, P.U.P.

“The true test of leadership is how you deal with adversity, how you get up when you stumble and fall, how you respond to the challenges that are facing your party, that are facing your country.  I think that is the true test of leadership.”

 

Isani Cayetano, Reporting

…the conviction of the Father of the Nation of Belize translated by Francis Fonseca on the occasion of George Price’s ninety-sixth birthday.  The present leader of the People’s United Party was flanked by the membership of the oldest political organization this morning at the Lord Ridge Cemetery where a brief wreath laying ceremony was held.

 

The deceased statesman served as First Minister and Premier under Britain’s governing power until independence in September 1981 and was Belize’s first prime minister.  George Price was also P.U.P. party leader until his retirement from electoral politics in October 1996.

 

Said Musa

Said Musa, Former Party Leader, P.U.P.

“George Price has been the greatest leader this country has ever seen and the greatest prime minister this country has ever seen and I want to sound a sad note today by saying [that] even though we celebrate his life I believe Mr. Price is turning in his grave today, turning in his grave because of the state that our country is in today.  The crisis that our country is in.  We have a crisis of confidence.  Our country is facing a crisis of growing poverty and growing inequality.  Our country is facing a crisis of growing unemployment.  It is also facing a crisis where too many of our people are being exploited.”

 

Leader Emeritus, as Price was also known, was conferred the Order of National Hero, Belize’s highest honor, in September 2000 for the leading role he played on the road to political freedom.  Career aside, Price was a devout believer in the tenets of social justice.

 

Francis Fonseca

Francis Fonseca

“The message of his life was service and unity, service and unity.  That was what he talked about throughout his life, service to the people of Belize, service to the community, the communities in which we live and service to our nation, our country.  So his life was about service and of course unity.  He traveled across the country uniting our people and he understood very, very clearly, better than anyone who has walked the land, walked the Belizean land.  He understood, he was a visionary, he understood and that is why he is our great leader and Father of the Nation.”

 

Before an assembly of primary school students, all too young to fully appreciate the profound impact Price has had on Belize’s sociopolitical landscape, a wreath bearing the colors of the party he co-founded was laid on his tomb.  The youthful gathering then joining in chorus for the birthday song in reverence.

 

Francis Fonseca

“They know some of the great accomplishments of George Price but they know very little about the man himself and the great work he did even before starting in the 1950s, but even before that and what led to the nationalist movement.  So I think we’re all failing in that regard.  We’re all failing.  I think we have to do a lot more to educate and inform the young people in particular about the life’s work of George Price, his philosophy, his commitment, his legacy of service and unity.  I think those are two important messages and that is what he represented.”

 

Reporting for News Five, I am Isani Cayetano.

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