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Sep 27, 2011

Thousands at Independence Hill for State Funeral

The official ceremony at Independence Hill on Monday was equally moving. Price received the highest accolades from the Belize and other governments across the hemisphere. News Five’s Andrea Polanco reports on the somber occasion.

Andrea Polanco, Reporting

On Monday, the city of Belmopan became alive as thousands of Belizean mourners gathered at Independence Hill under the tents, trees, and fringed the sidelines with flags FOR Belize’s first state funeral for the late Honorable George Cadle Price.  Dignitaries, government officials, family, and friends crowded the expanse of the symbolic hill, as they mourn and celebrate the life of Belize’s National Hero. The procession of the body was led by military personnel who lined the sidewalks for the state funeral in full regalia, backed up by a marching band and commissioned officers serving as pall bearers. The somber, yet celebratory occasion was underscored by numerous accolades bestowed upon the late Father of the Nation; and for his funeral the praises continued to ring out. With descriptions of his humility, his compassion and intelligence, Price’s depiction of being a true Belizean stood out. His nephew, Dr. John Waight, paid tribute to the man respected by all.

John Waight

Dr. John Waight, Delivered Eulogy

“Our family held him in high regard and to some extent in awe. We couldn’t always agree with his views but generally would always admit that he would often see things that we would not. It is customary to end a eulogy with a quotation of the deceased, and in view of the many quotations of Mr. Price in the last week, it is indeed an impossible task. Two however are here offered. The first is a response to a family member…We achieved our just objective”.  A better one however, might be his response to the question posed by a foreign journalist sometime ago, as to how he would like to be remembered. Mr Price said he would in favour of his epitaph reading, ‘a good Belizean who went through life on a pilgrimage and who left the world a better place than he found it.” We would all agree that Mr. Price did just that.  And it would appear that that tombstone of some size maybe required.”

Dean Barrow

While the late Father of the Nation represented the ideal yet uncommon leader among Belizeans, the praises of his personality were sung on high notes. Prime Minister Dean Barrow pointed out what made George Price different at home and abroad.

Dean Barrow

“My closest encounter with George Price was when we were together on a bi-partisan delegation. We had travelled to Roatan to meet with Guatemala as part of the effort to negotiate an end to the territorial claim, and I remember being struck by two things. First, the trouble he took to engage the staff at the hotel we were staying. He would greet all the front desk people each morning, shake hands with the bell captains and waiters, and actually enquire after their families. Now he was running for no office in Honduras, and these people could mean nothing to him politically. That’s when I realized that George Price was, above all, the most compassionate of men, interested in people for their own sake, invested in humanity everywhere.”

John Briceño

Leader of the Opposition, John Briceño spoke of the man who had a vision for Belize and who materialized that vision through his work. Briceno spoke fondly of his earliest memory of Mr. Price, one scores of Belizeans can relate to.

John Briceño, Opposition Leader

“George Price was a man of vision, who never lost faith in the idea that Belizeans deserved to chart their own destiny as an independent nation.  Many of us believed in that dream so we joined his peaceful, constructive, Belizean revolution in pursuit of achieving that objective. We still believe in this revolution and today more than ever we in the People’s United Party rededicate ourselves to the task of nation building and to the principles of social and economic justice.  Like George Price we want honest and accountable government that cares for the good of every Belizean. As a young boy of 11, I met Mr. Price at our family home in Orange Walk.  He spoke to me about the importance of study, he told me to keep reading and he reminded me that I must learn to speak both Spanish and English for our reality was both Central American and Caribbean, he saw our strategic placement in this hemisphere as yet another of the gifts of our Creator.”

But above all descriptions, small or big, for Belizeans and the world, a leader like George Price is parallel to none.  Prime Minister Dean Barrow sums it up best, with numerous applauses from the spectators:

Dean Barrow

“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.”

Reporting for News Five, I am Andrea Polanco.

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5 Responses for “Thousands at Independence Hill for State Funeral”

  1. Lucas says:

    HAIL TO THE CHIEF

  2. RadicalBelizean says:

    Mr Barrow spoke like a true leader, great speech about a man all politicians in Belize should all aspire to be like. Well done! On the other hand I was very disappointed that Mr Briceno took the opportunity at the founding father of your party and predecessor to fire cheap shots at the government. I would have like him to focus on celebrating the life of Rt Hon GC Price, no one else.

  3. vicky says:

    JOB WELL DONE! REST IN PEACE TO THE FATHER OF MY NATION. SLEEP ON!

  4. Corozal Queen says:

    Total agree with RadicalBelizean…Pm Barrow gave a very good speech he focused only on Rt. Hon.. Really disappointed in Johnny…thought he was bigger than that..but I guess he had to get back at the PM for his 21st speech..but his timing was off…Shame on you Johnny

  5. Cici says:

    Thank you so much for everything, Rt Hon Father of the Nation you did us proud of all the year of service’s . Our nation was blessed to have had you , you have taken us from the dark and brought us to the light in a firm but gentle assurance and lead your people every step of the way JOB WELL DONE MY YOU REST IN PEACE AND YOUR SOUL HAVE A WONDERFUL JOURNEY As YOU MEET YOUR MAKER GOOD JOB>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

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