On October 7th, 2009 Ray Lightburn died
in a tragic traffic accident.
Lightburn was once a successful union activist, politician and writer. He was a former editor of the Belize Times, and in the 1960’s, as acting President of the General Workers Union, convinced that organization to support Belize’s right to self-determination and Independence.
In his later years, he served the PUP as the manager and editor of The Belize Times. Himself a gifted writer, Ray formed his own newspaper, the Tribune, but the paper did not survive the vicissitudes that challenge small newspapers in the crown colony of British Honduras. Ray’s star would not go out, however, and he was soon involved in another venture in which his considerable talent proved useful. This time the writer decided to put down the pen for the chef’s apron, and he opened his restaurant, Chef Ramon, right next to The Belize Times.
Ray was also a founding member of the Conscious Youth Development Program (CYDP), along with Dean Barrow (now Belize’s Prime Minister) Nuri Mohamed, Jorge Espat, and others.
Ray Lightburn was also the first chairman of the Lands Committee under Minister Florencio Marin. He was a former politician who ran as the PUP standard bearer for the Mesopotamia Division. Notably, Ray was also a former chairman of WASA. In Nothing to Lose he explained that when he lost the chairmanship of WASA, his decline began, as he became dependent on drugs to alleviate the pain of his broken life.
On July 16th, three months before his death, Lightburn launched his book, “Nothing to Lose,” published by the Image Factory. The book is a recollection of the history of Belize through his eyes, and he said that he wanted young people to know about the struggle and the sacrifices that were made to gain Independence.
From his book Nothing to Lose: “The vicissitudes of life, business, and politics are harsh realities. My take on it is this: ‘I started off being honest with everything and everyone on the square, but you cannot fool with the golden rule in a crowd that won’t play fair,’ to quote my favorite song writer and poet Bob Dylan. I came into the world with nothing and I will leave with nothing, as such, ‘I have nothing to lose.’”
Ray Lightburn, 1941 -2009