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#354137 - 10/09/09 06:58 AM Belize Icon Ray Lightburn dies
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Belize lost a National Icon last night. In the 1960’s, as acting President of the General Workers Union, Ray convinced that organization to support Belize’s right to self-determination and Independence.
My deepest condolences to his family.
Short

Originally Posted By: 7 News Belize
Ray Lightburn Killed on Northern Highway

One of the key figures in Belize’s nationalist political history, Ray Lightburn was knocked down killed last night on the Northern Highway. It happened around 8:30 last night between miles 12 and 13 on the Northern Highway. Lightburn was walking on the highway from Los Lagos to Belize City when a Toyota Hilux pickup driven by 41 year old Nigel Tillet knocked him down, killing him instantly.

First to the news aspect of the story. Tillett was today charged with manslaughter by negligence, causing death by careless conduct and driving without due care and attention. He appeared in Magistrate’s court where he received bail of five thousand dollars and his case was adjourned until December fourth. According to his relatives, the 68 year old Lightburn was returning home from a friend’s house in Los Lagos. Tillet who is an electrician was taking an employee to his home in Ladyville. Lightburn – who had been in the grips of drug dependency for the past five years – would often go for long walks on the highway to the homes of friends in Burrell Boom and Los Lagos.

But the relevance of Ray Lightburn’s life surpasses the news of his death. First, Lightburn was a firebrand Union leader in the 50’s – which made him a key player in the PUP’s nationalist movement. And after that, so many things followed. Today his younger brother Clinton Pulu Lightburn discussed the contributions and contradictions of Ray Lightburn.

Clinton “Pulu” Lightburn, Brother

“He was a high school dropout to put it mildly out of SJC who became the President of the Christian Workers’ Union and along with George Price, Lindy Rogers, Phillip Goldson, Nicholas Pollard and several others including George Betson they turned this country around. They actually took it away from the British and they were backed by the Jesuits, that is why Ray was actually the President of the union. That is why the union was called the Christian Workers Union. And what I know Ray did, he made the word ‘strike’ very famous in Belize and very fearful to the British. The first thing he did is he went down to the stevedores, they were making like 30 something cent an hour, and he put them on strike and next thing I know they were making 89 cents an hour by the time brother Ray left there.

And after that in the later years he became the editor and manager of the Belize Times. He also founded his own newspaper which he was the editor, manager, and owner called the Tribune and he was the guy that actually introduced cartoons to the newspaper industry in Belize. He came out with the first cartoons. After that he went on to become a member of the PUP executive of which he had been a part of for 35 years. He was actually the man in the streets for the PUP party, he was basically the recruiter and if you speak to people like Said Musa, Ralph Fonseca, Florencio Marin, Dickie Bradley – a lot of these guys before they became a PUP they had to go through Ray. He was like John the Baptist for the 12 disciples, he was the hearer of testaments. He also went on to become the Chairman of the Board of Directors for the WASA.

He is free at last because he was struggling and because he wasn’t that type of person. I think he became a prisoner of his device because he got caught up at the age of 62, five years ago and he was too weak to fight.”


Jules Vasquez,
“History will recall Ray Lightburn as a great nationalist and a great Belizean.”

Clinton “Pulu” Lightburn,
“And a great revolutionary, actually he helped revolutionize this country. As a matter of fact he was the street general in the revolution. He led the revolution. While George Price and Lindy Rogers, they were sitting down in the offices, they used to send him out into the streets to do the work, whether it was good, bad, or ugly. He used to say he just wanted to know the rules and he was ready to play.”

And while Pulu Lightburn tells a good tale of his brother’s legend, he’ll be the first to agree that he got his lyrics from big brother Ray who was known as a man of great wit and oratory skill. He put that on display when he launched his biography Nothing To Lose in mid July and later on in the news – we’ll look back at that day – Ray Lightburn’s last dance in the spotlight.

http://www.7newsbelize.com/sstory.php?nid=15217
_________________________
Live and let live

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#354153 - 10/09/09 03:58 PM Re: Belize Icon Ray Lightburn dies [Re: Short]
Amanda Syme Offline
May he rest in peace.

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#354217 - 10/10/09 01:38 PM Re: Belize Icon Ray Lightburn dies [Re: Amanda Syme]
Diane Campbell Offline
Indeed. I enjoyed knowing him however briefly in this life.


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