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Oct 1, 2002

Photo exhibition honours C.L.B. Rogers

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The majority of Belizeans were barely born when he was at the peak of his political power. But few viewers over thirty-five could forget the days when the Honourable C.L.B. Rogers tightly held the portfolios of police, immigration and broadcasting. Loved by his supporters, reviled by his enemies and probably feared by both, this complex man defined grassroots politics in a way not seen before or since. For the next ten days he will be remembered in an exhibition of photographs. This morning News 5′s Stewart Krohn visited the Mexican Cultural Institute for a preview.

Stewart Krohn, Reporting

He was born in Tela, Honduras, son of a German father and Belizean mother. Few would have guessed in 1928 that Carl Lindberg Bernard Rogers would become a major figure in Belizean history. The photo exhibition in his honour at the Mexican Cultural Centre was organised by Dr. Raquel Rogers, one of Lindy’s seventeen children. Why did she do it?

Dr. Raquel Rogers, Exhibition Organiser

“That’s simple, my dad is my hero and I wanted to do a tribute to him. I had the idea over a year ago and I had the opportunity to do the research and put it all together.”

Stewart Krohn

“Your dad had very little formal education. The furthest he went was standard six at Wesley Primary School. Yet to hear him give a speech, you’d think this man went to Harvard or Cambridge. Where did he get his non-formal education?”

Dr. Raquel Rogers

“Totally self-education, and I think that is what he tried to impress upon his children as well and everyone around him, that you get a degree at school, but you get an education from reading every and anything that you can and from experiencing life as well.”

That experience brought Rogers into politics, first in the N.I.P. and later into the People’s United Party, where he forged a life-long relationship with leader George Price. One section of the exhibit features the cryptic observation “George rule by day…Lindy by night”.

Stewart Krohn

“I think it could be said that George was the man who officially went by the book, but when there was the dirty side of politics to be done, Lindy Rogers was there to do it. Is that a fair statement?”

Dr. Raquel Rogers

“Somewhat. I think when hard decisions had to be made and implemented, he was the go getter, he was the one to get that done. And also, I think he has that Godfather reputation, which isn’t necessarily true, but he didn’t do anything to dispel that because I think he was somewhat Machiavellian in thinking that to be a good leader one does not necessarily have to be loved, but that you need to be effective. The other thing is I think with that statement, it shows that you need both sides to be effective in politics. And you can say that he took the harder road, but he came from the streets, so he knew how to relate to people on the street and how to get things done in that time and in that context.”

After a successful political career as Mesopotamia representative, Minister of Home Affairs and Deputy Prime Minister, Rogers began a new life as UN Ambassador. How did he deal with the transition?

Dr. Raquel Rogers

“Oh he absolutely loved it. I think for somebody who came from very humble beginnings to go toe to toe with international diplomats, was a fantastic experience for him. He revelled in it. I think being in New York for the five years was one of his most glorious times. He really came alive at that point.”

Stewart Krohn

“Raquel, you’re a physician now at the K.H.M.H., no doubt beginning your own successful career. Let me turn back the clock a little bit, you must have been a very young girl when your dad was at the height of his political power. Give me some personal observations, what was it like living in Belize City, being the daughter of C.L.B. Rogers?”

Dr. Raquel Rogers

“That was tough.”

Stewart Krohn

“After all, you would be the Godfather’s daughter.”

Dr. Raquel Rogers

“Yes, and people you didn’t know knew you and you were always under scrutiny, well that still continues today, but it’s a good kind of pressure, because it’s that kind of pressure that pushes you to strive for excellence because I have big shoes to fill.”

C.L.B. Rogers, the sportsman who loved to do the live radio broadcasts of boxing, died at home on July twenty-fifth, 1996 while watching the Olympics. Stewart Krohn for News 5.

After tonight’s official opening, the exhibition will run through October eleventh. It is free to the public.

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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