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Sep 29, 2004

New book honours Father of Nation

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It’s a political organisation that takes its history seriously and today, on its fifty-fourth birthday, the People’s United Party paused to celebrate, not just with a toast, but with a book. The author is veteran photographer and former Chief Information Officer Norris Hall. The subject is the father of the Nation. Patrick Jones Reports.

Patrick Jones, Reporting

The book is a collection of over eighty black and white photographs that capture a moment in history when the job of nation building was gathering steam, and focuses on the man leading the charge, the Right Honourable George Price.

Norris Hall, Author

?That was a part of the period after self government when the country was moving towards Independence. And it was a part of the struggle of the people, the peoples? struggle towards the attainment of independence from the British Colonial Government.?

Patrick Jones

?For the younger generation, what was it like working with Mr. Price back then??

Norris Hall

?It was quite an experience, a challenge, very challenging, but I learned to love this country and respect the man over the years I worked with him.?

Author of the photo documentary, Norris Hall, says he originally intended to tell the story of the country?s political movement, but the lack of adequate material to work with led instead to this. It?s a compelling story, and one which the author chose to express exclusively through the lens of his camera.

Norris Hall

?I think that each photograph represent a decisive moment in time. And it tells a story. I am asking the viewers of the book to read the pictures rather than look at them.?

Patrick Jones

?Is that why you did not put a narrative after every picture??

Norris Hall

?Exactly so, I thought that a narrative after every picture would have distracted from the impact of the photographs.?

And the man, who is the subject of the artwork, says the author has done him justice.

George Price, PUP Leader 1950-1996

?First, gratitude to Norris Hall for the good work he did. He is an excellent photographer and a good writer. And he was present at the time the work of the People?s United Party and its revolution was going on.?

?It was not easy we had to build up the nation from almost scratch. We had to have the flag, the name, the constitution, the anthem. And to give that feeling of, we are no longer separated from this district or that district, but we are one people, the Belizean people. And I think that Norris Hall caught that very well in his photographs.?

The book was released on the fifty fourth anniversary of the People?s United Party, which Price led for forty six years. And while he has retired from elective politics, current party leader Said Musa says George Price remains an important symbol of nationhood.

Said Musa, Prime Minister

?George Price is the father of the Nation. And I think there is never enough that we can do to honour him even while he is alive. And this photo exhibition and this book bring out to me the essential George Price. A very simple man, a very humble man, yet a man of deep thought, profound though and vision. And a person who had the tremendous charisma with the Belizean people, whether it was dealing with heads of state or whether it was dealing with the humblest Belizean in the Toledo District.?

But things have not always been as peaceful as the early seventies for the PUP. And while the party is currently gripped in what may well be its biggest post independence challenge, Musa says in the end, the party will emerge stronger and more vibrant.

Said Musa

?I think so long as the challenge is one of ideas, and differences of opinion, we have nothing to fear. This is what brings about the best in the human mind, when we have contending ideas, working to bring about what is best for the nation. And I think it is a part of the maturity that goes on in our democracy and we should not see this as a threat to the party. The party will survive all of us because the party is bigger than every one of us.?

Spoken like George Price himself. The eighty five year old leader emeritus told News Five that faith in the people and the blessing of God has enabled the PUP to withstand the test of time. As to the current challenge the party faces, Price says he has no doubt, this too shall pass.

George Price

?There was always a challenge throughout the thing. We always had this to bring the people together. And it will be to the end of time because it?s only in heaven that there will be a perfect society. ?

Patrick Jones

?So the party will survive this??

George Price

?Will survive this, thank you.?

Patrick Jones, for News Five.

The book, dedicated to the people of rural Belize, is available for twenty-five dollars at the Image Factory.

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Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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