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Sep 29, 1998

P.U.P. celebrates 48th anniversary at K.H.M.H.

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When most people celebrate their birthday it is usually done in the company of family and friends at a party or other festivities. But the People’s United Party is not like most people and on its forty-eight birthday, proved once again that it’s an institution that is not afraid of breaking with tradition. Instead of a birthday cake and champaign to mark the historic milestone, P.U.P. ministers and representatives alike, gladly traded their guayaberras and air conditioned offices in Belmopan, for garden tools and sanitary gloves as they gave back to the community to celebrate the founding of the party on September twenty-ninth, 1950.

Since the People’s United Party was formed on September twenty- ninth, 1950, it’s members and supporters have celebrated the occasion in grandiose style. This year, however, the P.U.P. has decided to drop the annual anniversary party and serve the community instead. In a short speech, commemorating P.U.P.’s forty-eight anniversary, party chairman and Minister of National Security Jorge Espat, explained why they saw fit to observe the day by doing community projects.

Jorge Espat, Chairman, P.U.P.

“While the countless historic accomplishments since 1950 give P.U.P. members and supporters justifiable cause for celebration, the P.U.P. this year is foregoing the traditional anniversary festivities. Instead, our P.U.P. representatives and officials are marking the occasion by reaffirming, in a substantial way, our commitment to the P.U.P. motto, “Serve the People”.”

A part of the ceremony included the donation of five thousand dollars worth of medical equipment and supplies to the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital. Dr. John Waight, the hospital’s Medical Chief of Staff says the hospital is pleased to receive the items which include syringes, thermometers, hydrogen peroxide, rehydration fluids, microwave, refrigerator, fans, plants and paint.

Dr. John Waight, Medical Chief of Staff, K.H.M.H.

“Well, donations are always very welcome, the fans in particular. As you know, this building tends to get hot in the afternoons and then also the paint will go somewhere towards the upkeep to some parts that are in need of painting. And the refrigerator, to keep drinks, soft drinks and some food; they will be very greatly appreciated.”

Following the handing over ceremony, it was time to literally get down and dirty. Although they may have been more comfortable inside their air conditioned offices, the ministers and party officials did not appear to be overcome by the heat of the day, as they mowed the lawn, picked up leaves, mixed the paint and painted one of the hospital’s gardens.

Q: “Is this the hardest you ever work Dickie?”

Richard “Dickie” Bradley, Minister of Housing

“No, man. How will you do me a thing like that? I come from a long tradition of doing work.”

Q: “So you are helping to beautify K.H.M.H.?”

Richard “Dickie” Bradley

“Yes, we want to set an example that in fact, the same kind of example that Jesus had mention in the Bible, that it doesn’t matter who it is, who is stooping down and washing who’s feet. The idea is the fact that we are providing a service, so that is important. I was just inviting the civil servants there by the window, to leave the desk there for a while, once a week, once a month and help keep the hospital going in terms of both beautification and minor repairs, no. Isn’t this a good idea that the ministers they come and bend their back a bit and sweat and do something that is important?”

Jorge Espat

“Often times, people look at politicians as if they are gods and we are not. We are ordinary citizens and in fact if we ask people to empower us with responsibilities to lead, then I think we must set the example. And I think this humbles us and it also says to the Belizean people we have a set of politicians who are serious about governance, serious about getting down and dirtying our hands and our feet and doing some work.”

Jose Coye, Minister of Trade and Industry

“It’s a very good idea, like I said. It is very symbolic and demonstrative of the party’s commitment to put some action to that vision.”

Q: “You breathing a little bit hard, getting tired?”

Jose Coye

“What is happening is that over the elections, I stopped my exercise believing that the elections would have given me enough exercise, so I need to get back on the track.”

Today’s clean-up is one which Dr. Waight says he would like to see continue, not only by government ministers, but by the public at large.

Dr. John Waight

“The grounds are massive and they require much upkeep. In the past, we have had various voluntary organizations that used to come and help out and this may be an incentive for those that did in the past to continue to do in the future.”

While the clean up was welcome by all, as we toured the hospital grounds, we couldn’t help but notice a good amount of garbage and scrap material dumped carelessly on a compound where cleanliness is suppose to be the order of the day.

People’s United Party leader and Prime Minister Said Musa in a birthday message said that over the past forty-eight years, the party has seen many difficulties and obstacles, with many more looming on the horizon with the approach of the next millennium. But, Musa continued, the presence of George Price, founder of the Party, and the dynamic vitality of a new leadership, should be enough to take, not only the P.U.P. but the country as well through what he called “the troubled waters of globalization, into the more prosperous future that our people deserve”.

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