The First Prime Minister of Belize, the Father of Independence and National Hero, Rt. Hon. George Cadle Price was laid to rest on Monday, September, 26, 2011, at the Lord Ridge Cemetery, after an entire nation in mourning bid farewell to him at his state funeral that was held at the Independence Plaza in the capital City of Belmopan.
His body was taken from the George Price Center for Peace and Development to Independence Plaza on motorcade by the Belize Defense Force, where residents from around the nation awaited to pay their final respects. Chief celebrant of the mass ceremony was Most Reverend Bishop Dorick Wright, D.D., Bishop of Belize City and Belmopan.
His eulogy was ready by Dr. John Weight, while the Belizean national prayer was rehearsed by his niece Mrs. Elizabeth Zabaneh, who bid farewell to her Uncle George on behalf of the family.
Official remarks were offered by leader of the opposition, Hon. John Briceño and Prime Minister of Belize, Hon. Dean Barrow. Both expressed their fond and sincere memories of Mr. Price, but most of all highlighted his many accomplishments and celebrated his life-long accomplishments and dedication to our nation.
It was a farewell of hope, as Bishop Wright expressed; hope that our nation has learned so much from this national hero who dedicated his life in making Belize a better place for all its inhabitants.
Thunderous applauses filled Independence Plaza every time the name of George Price was mentioned during the ceremony. The nation showed how much respect, honor and pride they feel for him and saddened to believe that he is no longer with us. However, his memory and message of goodness, humility and determination shall definitely remain in everybody's minds and hearts as Belize tries to emulate this magnificent man who did so much for his country.
After the State Funeral at the City of Belmopan, a motorcade brought the body of George Price to Belize City for interment at Lord Ridge’s Cemetery. Sir Colville Young, Governor General of Belize presented the Belize Flag that decorated the casket to his sister Mrs. Jane Usher. Yellow wreathes were placed on the tomb by Sir Colville Young, Hon. John Briceño, and Hon. Dean Barrow. After the 21-cannon shot salute, a fleet of five airplanes from Maya Island Air flew in formation giving the final salute to our Hero.
Ambergris Today was honored and privileged to have attended the ceremony and experience such a momentous occasion. We share in the grief of the nation and bid farewell to the Father of the Nation, a true Belizean hero.
Right Honorable George Cadle Price
Father of Independence
First Prime Minister of Belize
The Right Honorable George Cadle Price was born on January 15, 1919, in Belize City as the third of eleven children to William Cadle Price and Irene Cecilia Price (nee Escalante). Mr Price attended Holy Redeemer Primary School and St. John’s College in Belize City and then studied theology at St. Augustine Minor Seminary in Mississippi, USA and the Seminario Conicliar in Guatemala.
After returning home in 1942, he began working for MR. Robert Sydney Turton. It was with Mr. Thurton that Mr. Price received his introduction to politics. In 1944, three days before voting day Mr. Price entered municipal politics and lost that first election. By 1947, he had won the first election and he served as Mayor of Belize City from 1958 to 1962.
On December 31, 1949, the British Honduras dollar was devalued by the Governor who used his reserve powers. This event served as catalyst for the formation of the People’s Committee, compromised of John Smith, Leigh Richardson, Philip Goldson and Mr. Price as its Secretary. By September 29, 1950 the People’s Committee had become the People’s United Party (PUP), and in 1956, Mr. Price became party leader of the PUP. He remained the leader of the PUP until 1996.
In1964, Mr. Price led Belize into Self Government and became its first Premier. He was elected as a member of the House of Representatives from 1965 to 1984 and from 1989 to 1993. After a brief hiatus, he was re-elected in 1998 and served until 2003.
In the 1970s, Mr. Price and his team organized a movement for the internationalization of the Belizean call for Independence. On Monday, September 21, 1981, Belize achieved her Independence from Britain and was admitted into the United Nations. The Honorable George Price became Belize’s First Prime Minister.
In recent years, Mr. Price was bestowed with several awards in recognition of his selfless commitment to the development of Belize within the region. These include:
*Belize’s Highest Honor: Order of National Hero (2000)
*The Order of the Caribbean Community (OCC) (2001)
*Cuba’s Highest Honor, The Jose Marti Award, bestowed by President Fidel Castro (2005)
Additional accolades were bestowed on him by Mexico, Honduras and Venezuela.
Mr. Price is credited with the construction of the new seat of Government in the city of Belmopan. Here, in the city he first envisioned months before the devastation of Hurricane Hattie, the George Price Center aims to empower others to work for the growth and advancement of Belize, free from civil strife and disparities.
The Right Honorable George Price Was a visionary who brought Belize out of a colonial era. His dream for a better Belize went far beyond postcolonial relationships with Britain or regional ties with the Anglophone Caribbean and Central America.
In spite of this extensive political thrust, Mr. Price remained constant as a singular man whose spirituality and commitment to principles of Christian democracy underscored his daily life. An avid reader, his love of knowledge and the arts shaped his methods of self expression in drama, poetry and music. His philosophical mantra of the Peaceful, Constructive, Belizean Revolution is immortalized in the great legacy of this humble yet magnificent whose life was indeed for a higher calling: selfless service and dedication to the country and the people he loved so much.
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