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May 10, 2022

Remembering Leonora Patnett; Dead at 108

Leonora Patnett

On Monday, we announced the passing of Leonora Patnett who was, up until yesterday, Belize’s oldest woman. For the past six years, we have been covering the celebration of her birthday as she celebrated one hundred and three to one hundred and eight years old. Tonight, we look back on those years that we sat with the centenarian as she shared her life story about Belize’s colonial days with us. News Five’s Isani Cayetano looks back on the life of Leonora Patnett.

 

Isani Cayetano, Reporting

We began documenting the life of Leonora Patnett, born on December 12th, 1913, three years after she became a centenarian. Since then, we’ve featured the Wagner’s Lane resident in our newscast every year on the occasion of her birthday. At a hundred and three years old, the Albert constituent sat down with my former colleague, Andrea Polanco, to discuss her tidbits of her past, growing up in colonial Belize.

 

 

Leonora Patnett

Leonora Harris Patnett [December 14th, 2016]

“I mi di come from ova pahn mi bike and wah car mi deh in front ah mi and ah neva realize that the car, I mi seh di car wah go straight but ah neva think ih mi wah bobble.  And when ih bobble my bicycle wheel touch the car and dah that mek ah fall down.”

 

Andrea Polanco

“This is Leonora Harris Patnett. Today she turns one hundred and three years old.  Although the Wagner’s Lane resident started walking with a walker just a few years back, today she can still see and reads without a pair of glasses. Perhaps what is most striking about her is that she loves a good laugh and is quite the storyteller, her mind is as sharp as it was decades ago.”

 

Leonora Harris Patnett

“I neva get hurt because I just mi drop front way and the fella come and hold me mek ah get up.”

 

Andrea Polanco

“This da how long ago this?”

 

Leonora Patnett

“I mi deh eena mi thirties.”

 

Andrea Polanco

“And dehn time Belize mi look very different?”

 

Leonora Harris Patnett

“Oh yes, very different.”

 

Three years later, we visited her home on her hundred and sixth birthday. By then she was on record as Belize’s oldest woman. This is what she shared with us.

 

Leonora Harris Patnett [December 13th, 2019]

“Only God could tell you.  Only God could tell you. He’s keeping me up. I pray that I live to see it and anytime God say well, I ready for you, then I am ready too because it is a long time that I live.”

 

Andrea Polanco

“It is a very long time. Did you expect to live this long?”

 

Leonora Patnett

“No, I never expect this.”

 

Just last year, I had the privilege to sit with her.  On that day, she was also visited by Prime Minister John Briceño, Mayor Bernard Wagner and later by Albert Area Representative Tracy Panton. My conversation with the matriarch of Jump Street, included her experience seeing several generations of her progeny grow to become men and women.

 

 

Isani Cayetano

“You’ve seen your kids grow up to become adults, right. You’ve also seen your grandkids. How far down the family tree are we now, great grand or just grand?”

 

Leonora Harris Patnett [December 13th, 2021]

 “Great great.”

 

Isani Cayetano

“Talk to us about that feeling though, I mean you’ve been around for several generations to see all of these people grow up under you and they’re carrying on your family tradition and your family name.”

 

Leonora Harris Patnett

“All I wahn tell yoh bout dehn, dehn done married and have children too and da me mid them ‘til dehn grow to become man and have children.”

 

On Monday, Leonora Patnett passed away peacefully at home.

 

Isani Cayetano for News Five.


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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