The Father of the Nation Turns 90
Even Prime Minister Dean Barrow calls George Price the Father of the Nation – and indeed, the PUP’s Leader Emeritus has outlived political labeling: he is now largely seen as a figure that transcends politics. Yes, he still plays a cagey role in the old guard/new guard politics of his own party, Price is mostly retired from politics, but not public life. And so today, his 90th birthday was observed with public fanfare and ceremony at the George Price Center in Belmopan. The center put together an exhibit of photographs and a documentary to celebrate Price’s lifetime of accomplishments and document his humble beginnings. Of course, there have been books, exhibits and documentaries before – but this one hopes to be definitive, as the elder statesman is in the autumn of his years. Still, I visited and found Mr. Price taking it all in stride.
Jacqueline Godwin Reporting,
George Price once told a reporter from the Miami Herald and I quote “I would like to be known as a good Belizean, one who went through life on a pilgrimage and left the world a better place than I found it.” And what a journey it has been for this political icon who led the way for Belize attaining her independence on September 21st, 1981. Today George Cadle Price turned 90 years old. The occasion was celebrated in Belmopan at the George Price Centre for Peace and Development.
Elsie Alpuche, Curator - George Price Centre
“We want to show people the man behind the politician. We have some chronological and historical background but what we want really to achieve is for people to get to know Mr. Price better; what he believed in, what his values were, what he wanted in life for him and for Belize.”
Today he celebrates his 90th birthday?
Hector Silva, Friend/Former Government Minister
“His 90th birthday, but he is looking so good for 90 having been through so much troubles, hardships, sometimes he didn’t use to eat, at times he said to let’s go and do our job first and then we eat. He is great, a great man.”
George Cadle Price was born on January 15th, 1919. Twenty five years later he embarked on his political career. But those who are close to him strongly believe that what had also made him a great leader started first at home.
“Let us begin with home. Very good home training, his dad was a disciplinarian, having been in the military, as a major in West Indian Regiment. His mommy was a loving lady that took care of her children. Then from there George got the background of the Jesuits which in those days was very solid, and then of course his stint with religion. But I think that George began to mold himself as a leader when he entered politics in 1944, which he called the university of the people.”
Throughout his travels in Belize, he took hundreds of hundreds of notes of every little thing he saw that may have been needed in that place he visited.
“That’s right, he was a great communicator and the method he used to communicate was to hear from the people, especially those in need, and to pass it on as a medium to where it should be solved and we used to be bombarded with his letters on any little subject, even if it was a light bulb in Corozal that is out, he will come ‘Minister, see that that bulb is changed in Corozal,’ or a little culvert in a village where water settled, ‘Minister, see that a culvert is placed in the entrance to Sarteneja,’ and he had such a tremendous memory which he still has, I believe.”
George Price, Turns 90 years old
“When I was travelling the important people were the people themselves and talking to them, seeing their homes, if they have enough to eat, if they are well, all these things used to register. It was not just a social event.”
It looks like a lot of work and research went into getting together the material needed for this exhibit. When did all of this started?
“Well, actually in 2007, late 2007, so the past year, 2008, I’ve been doing research mostly at the Archives Department and we have researched everything that is available on Mr. Price whether that was pictures, audio, audio visual, everything we have now at the center and parts of it we used in this exhibit.”
“You have three types of leaders: ones that are made, the products of necessity, and you have the born leaders. He is one of those born leaders and I hope those around him take good care of him, don’t strain him, don’t overwork him, he has done his job. Let’s take care of that jewel that we still have.”
Today George Cadle Price remains a humble man, who only has best wishes for Belize and Belizeans. One of those wishes is that we can all work together for the betterment of the country.
Happy birthday to you. You’re looking very good by the way.
“Thank you very much. An occasion like this gives you courage and puts on you the spirit to continue the fight.”
The exhibit will be a permanent feature at the George Price Center.