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Mar 9, 2004

Gilbert Ramsey: dead at 57

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He was not a head of state, never ran for office, and carried no portfolio, ministerial or otherwise. But if public recognition and popularity were the criteria, then the man known as Ramsey was as well known as any of our political leaders. Tonight we regret to report that Ramsey, one of those precious souls who make Belize so special, is no longer with us. News 5′s Jacqueline Woods has the story.

Gilbert Ramsey, Deceased

“One time it used to be lone carts that used to do all the jobs in Belize. They no had trucks, and bicycle carts weren’t around then and trucks and things didn’t do those jobs, it was just mule and cart. They used to call them drays, used to do all the jobs, all the transportation in Belize.”

Jacqueline Woods, Reporting

Just after six on Sunday evening, Belize lost a living legend, in the form of Gilbert Ramsey, who for decades travelled the streets of Belize City on his mule and cart, singing his way into Belizean history.

The Ramsey family says their brother was not one to complain about illness and they never knew that he was seriously sick. According to his sister Georgia, his neighbours informed her on Saturday night that they had not seen him leave his house for three days and they worried that he was in trouble. Georgia says it is then she found out that he had not been feeling well.

Georgia Ramsey, Sister

“What happen is that he was home and trying his remedy. And the neighbours they help him-because he lives by himself-and gave him soup and things, but he started getting weaker.”

Georgia says when she arrived at her brother’s house the police were already at the location to help Ramsey. Georgia says her brother was severely dehydrated and immediately rushed him to the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital.

Georgia Ramsey

“While we were there he start telling me different things that had happened to him, and telling that doctor that a couple days ago he had brought up some dark stuff. And when I looked at him his eyes were yellow and his nails too, so the doctors they start putting drip and all that on him, but still they didn’t know. They gave him an injection for the pain that he complained about in his abdomen. So they did the injection for that and he got some ease.”

But doctors could do nothing to save the life of the fifty-seven year old.

Georgia Ramsey

“To be honest, we don’t know what caused his death. The certificate has cirrhosis of the liver, but he doesn’t drink, so we as the family members are trying to put one and one together. He drinks a lot of herbs, so we probably think that it was a side effect from the herbs or so.”

Ramsey started working on his mule and cart alongside his father when he was just thirteen years old. Never interested in getting a high school education, Ramsey only wanted to help his father transport goods throughout the city. In 1987, Great Belize Productions featured Ramsey in the programme, Belize All Over. In that interview, he spoke passionately to Jacqueline Gray about the job he did and the animal that was his trademark, pet, and friend.

Gilbert Ramsey

“I didn’t like big mule, I just want a small one I could handle.”

Jacqueline Gray

“Does it mean there’s a difference in the work that it does or something like that?”

Gilbert Ramsey

“Yeah. Well the big mule is stronger, but it can be dangerous. Because you would park your cart and sometimes the mule just bruk weh cause sometimes somebody might scare him and he bruk weh and run down the street and if they too strong you might can’t hold them back. So I didn’t want a mule that was too strong that you can’t hold, I want one I could control.”

Jacqueline Gray

“So how much did you pay for the mule back then?”

Gilbert Ramsey

“Back then, you pay a hundred and fifty dollars for it.”

Jacqueline Gray

“And how long you have this one?”

Gilbert Ramsey

“We have this mule now, twenty-six years.”

But sadly, in 1992 in a bizarre incident, Ramsey’s mule was shot and later died from those gunshot wounds. It was a loss Ramsey never forgot.

Georgia Ramsey

“In 1970, he became a reborn again Christian and then in 1974 he took a country tour, north, south, east, and west. All those villages, Jackie my brother knows. And that’s where a lot of people from out district know him as “Power”. That is his thing, “power”.”

His presence was so powerful that in 1998, the D-Revelation band named their album “Power to Love” in Ramsey’s homer. More recently, Ramsey popularity soared with his public front row appearances on Channel 5′s Karaoke Television.

Today, his family says they are grateful for all the assistance and appreciation the public has shown to their brother.

Georgia Ramsey

“I want to tell all those people out there thanks for all the sympathies and the words of comfort. To the people, length and breadth of this country that helped him on his tour and was kind to him, I want to say thanks.”

Jacqueline Woods reporting for News 5.

Gilbert Wellington Ramsey will be buried on Saturday following services at St. John’s Anglican Cathedral at three p.m.

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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