The peaceful and constructive Belizean revolution was the mantra of the late father of the nation, the Right Honorable George Price. The evolution of the People’s United Party was captured by past editors of THE BELIZE TIMES. An exhibition on the history of the newspaper and its yearly headlines on September twenty-first, opened this morning at Independence Hall. It shows that since 1981, there have been political and economic issues that have prevailed throughout the decades. News Five’s Isani Cayetano reports.
Isani Cayetano, Reporting
In mid-September of 1990, some twenty-one years ago, thieves broke into and stole a number of household items from the home of a then prominent P.U.P. politician. The incident made headlines on the front page of the Independence Day issue of the Belize Times. Several years later, during a subsequent U.D.P. administration, the title of the lead newspaper article read “U.D.P. Induces Recession”. The cover story of each annual Independence Day publication, as seen through the eyes of past editors of the P.U.P. organ, provides a snapshot of events in Belizean history over the last thirty years.
John Briceño, Party Leader, P.U.P.
“There are certain other headlines that we would have wanted to put but what we did, we were tying the headlines with independence, you know, so we are saying ‘81 to thirty years later, in 2011. So we were looking strictly at the day of independence, what was the headlines? And we could see some of the recurring themes when the U.D.P. is in government, the issue of the muzzling of the, going after the media, unemployment, the economy, crime and all the alleged corruptions in government so as one said, you know, the more things change the more they remain the same.”
The exhibit, being held this week at Independence Hall, is titled Revolution. By definition it signifies a dramatic change in philosophy or practice. According to party leader John Briceño, the P.U.P., despite being the opposition, remains progressive.
“The People’s United Party has always been a party that’s always pushing change, wanting change to happen. In 1984 when the government changed for the very first time you know, we in the P.U.P. did not sit back on our laurels. We decided that we had to fight back, fight the changes that the U.D.P. was doing from the SIS to trying to clamp down on the media and we did not sit back, we fought back. And [it’s] the same thing we are seeing today now, that when we are now in opposition once again the government is trying to muzzle the media, the government trying to diminish the importance of the constitution, making changes, continuing with B.T.L. as what happened during their time, it’s happening again. So we believe that we are always in a process of revolution within, here in the People’s United Party but the work that was done here is not just by ourselves. It’s people like Kevin Arthurs and the secretary general and the past editors, all the work that they have done and I think this is a wonderful time when we can do some sort of reflection with the loss of the Father of the Nation, the Right Honorable George Price. For us to be able to put this display and I think it’s a wonderful tribute to Mr. Price and to the People’s United Party.”
Revolution will be formally launched tonight at Independence Hall. It coincides with the sixty-first anniversary of the People’s United Party which was celebrated on the twenty-ninth of September. Reporting for News Five, I am Isani Cayetano.
The exhibition can be viewed throughout this week.