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May 16, 2016

The Leigh Richardson Knowledge Center is Officially Opened

Masanori Nakano

“Breaking the Cycle of Poverty”—that’s the mission of a project funded through a loan from the Caribbean Development Bank under the Social Investment Fund Program and a grant from the Government of Japan. The Samuel Haynes Institute of Excellence off Mahogany Street got a much needed expansion with a newly built and fully furnished Leigh Richardson Knowledge Center. The center will provide hundreds of Belizeans with access to skills training and income generating programs for self-empowerment and gainful employment. The knowledge center is one of the projects launched during the visit of Japanese Ambassador to Belize Masanori Nakano.

 

Masanori Nakano, Ambassador of Japan to Belize

“The signing ceremony for this project was held on March 26,, 2012 between the Embassy of Japan and the Pickstock Development Association. The contract was valued at one hundred eleven thousand six hundred and thirty-five U.S. dollars under the Government of Japan’s Grant Assistance for Grassroots and Human Security Project. We came to know that Pickstock Development Association had been in dire need to expand this center. The association had already been providing significant services for community residents such as sewing lessons, cosmetology classes as well as subsistence farming techniques and entrepreneurship. So we decided to offer our assistance to this institute.”

 

Brian Richardson

Brian Richardson, Son of Leigh Richardson

“Our father, Leigh, hardly ever spoke of all that transpired as regards the efforts that he and others made all those years ago in what was then the colony of British Honduras. We believe that was because the reality of all that they had attempted to do did not fully dawn on him during his lifetime. We are gratified that so many in Belize truly appreciate the efforts made by our father and Phillip Goldson among others in the quest for Belize to realize its own destiny. Leigh was the editor of the Belize Billboard and since he was not very forthcoming about his endeavors in Belize, most of his children were not aware of the impact his contributions had on Belize.”

 

Wilfred Elrington

Wilfred Elrington, Pickstock Area Rep.

“The name Leigh Richardson has meant a lot to me because when you read the history of Belize, you will see that he was in fact the first truly political person who sought independence for Belize. He was passionately anti-colonial; passionately anti-poverty and passionately pro-Belize. Because of his anti-colonial position and his pro-Belize position, both he and his very good friend and cousin Phillip Goldson spent some eighteen months in jail for what was called sedition in those days. Between myself and our dear departed friend, Adalbert Tucker, it was resolved that we would name this building after Leigh Richardson. So we are happy that we were able to do that.”

 

The official opening was held over the weekend.

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