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Aug 17, 2009

Former minister V.H. Courtenay passes away

Story PictureOne of the architects of the Belize Constitution passed away this Saturday at his family home. Vernon Harrison “VH” Courtenay, or Sir Harry, as he was affectionately known, was an outstanding Belizean patriot, well known for service in public life. Courtenay, an attorney by profession and a member of the oldest and prestigious law firm in Belize, WH Courtenay and Company, was involved in the political life of the country, dating back to the colonial period. Together, with the late Lindy Rogers, the now leader emeritus of the People’s United Party, George Price and Assad Shoman, he worked tirelessly in the drafting and framing of the independence constitution. He was a member of the team in the internationalization process in the journey to independence as well as a member of the negotiating team which secured nationhood in 1981. Courtenay was also known as a great orator and won three elections in the Collet Division in 1969, seventy-four and seventy-nine. He held various ministerial appointments pre and post independence; including Minister of Works, Foreign Affairs, Home Affairs. He was also the first Belizean to be appointed attorney general by the colonial government, and his last ministerial appointment was in the 1984 P.U.P. administration. He also served as a deputy leader of the P.U.P. Courtenay retired from active politics some years ago but remained keenly interested in the development of the country up until his illness. In his personal life he was an avid tennis player. An official memorial service will be held this coming Wednesday at six o’clock at St Mary’s Church in Belize City to celebrate his life.

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