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Sep 27, 2011

Family Funeral for Price at Holy Redeemer

The Right Honorable George Cadle Price was laid to rest on Monday after a week of national mourning. Thousands paid their last respects to the first prime minister, whose casket carried with full military honor for the state funeral. The epitaph on his casket read simply “George Cadle Price, the Father of the Nation”. We start with the highlights of the private mass at the Holy Redeemer Cathedral where Price worshipped almost on a daily basis. News Five’s Isani Cayetano has the first report.

Isani Cayetano, Reporting

An invitation only, televised funeral service for the late Father of the Nation, George Cadle Price, was held at the Holy Redeemer Cathedral on Saturday evening.  The religious ceremony followed a brief procession from the Bliss Center for the Performing Arts where thousands paid their respects a few hours earlier.  The casket, adorned in the Belizean standard, was transported by open hearse before an audience of onlookers who lined the streets of downtown Belize City to pay homage.

Upon nearing the cathedral the flag-draped pall was transferred from the B.D.F. Land Rover, on which it was being carried, to a team of six commissioned military officers who then proceeded with surgical precision in slow march to the main entrance.  Behind them was a host of supporters, his extended family comprised of members of the People’s United Party.  Once there it was received by another team of pallbearers including Price’s family and friends.  First Prime Minister George Price was a parishioner at Holy Redeemer and was often seen walking to church to attend morning mass.

The memorial at his place of worship, in the eyes of many, brought the celebration of his life full circle.  Leading the service was Bishop Dorrick Wright of the Catholic Diocese.  The eulogy, a heartfelt remembrance of the man and his many accomplishments, was read by Henry Charles Usher, grandnephew of Belize’s first prime minister.

Henry Charles Usher

Henry Charles Usher, Grandnephew of George Price

“Uncle George never expressed any fear of dying.  He saw death as nature taking its course.  His only hope when asked was to go to heaven.  But I read that he did confide to the Miami Herald once that he would like to be known as a Belizean, a good Belizean and one who went through life in a pilgrimage and left the world in a better place than he found it.  And so it has come to past with George Price.  His body will be interred but his soul will live on forever in the glory of God.”

Seated in the pews was current P.U.P. leader John Briceño, Price’s successor as head of the party.  Elsewhere were other notables who run the gamut of Belizean society.

Henry Charles Usher

“Wednesday was an important day for him.  Maybe because it was midweek or maybe because most businesses at that time were shut down on Wednesday afternoons.  For whatever the reason he did most events on a Wednesday.  Many elections were called on Wednesdays.  Cabinet met on Tuesdays but Wednesdays were for the people.  Isn’t it a coincidence that he was born on a Wednesday?  Uncle George’s charm and his smile were infectious.  He radiated lightheartedness.  There was something childlike about him as he himself loved children and enjoyed immensely the times he could question them and learn from them. Lord now let thy servant depart in peace according to thy word.  Rest now Uncle George you have done your work, your soldiers will henceforth carry the torch of your revolution.  Thank you.”

Outside, the gathering of spectators eagerly anticipated the departure of the casket.  On the street uniformed, B.D.F. swordbearers formed two queues through which the casket would be carried.  Above them the constant whirs of a hovering chopper; a cameraman shooting aerial footage of the pomp and circumstance that accompanied what has been described as the largest state funeral in our nation’s history.  Price’s exit followed similar protocol, in reverse order, as the coffin was transferred from civilian pallbearers to military escorts who slow marched to the waiting open hearse for direct flight to Belmopan. Reporting for News Five, I am Isani Cayetano.

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1 Response for “Family Funeral for Price at Holy Redeemer”

  1. Lucas says:

    Abide with me; fast fall the even tide;
    The darkness deepens; Lord, with me abide!
    When other helpers fail; and confort flee,
    Help of the helpless, O abide with me.

    Swift to its close ebbs out life’s little day;
    Earth’s joys grow dim, its glories pass away;
    Change and decay in all around I see;
    O Thou, who changes not, abide with me.

    I need thy presence every passing hour;
    What but thy grace can foil the tempter’s power?
    Who like Thy self my guide and stay can be?
    Through cloud and sunshine, O abide with me.

    I fear no foe, with Thee at hand to bless,
    Ills have no weight, and tears no bitterness:
    Where is death’s sting? where, grave thy victory?
    I triumph still if Thou abide with me!

    ( ABIDE WITH ME) Fanny Cosby. Adventist Church Hymnal. Hymn # 50.

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