Today Belize celebrates a national holiday formerly known as Baron Bliss day. In 2008, the name was changed to National Heroes and Benefactors Day. Here are Some other Belizean Heroes and Benefactors that we celebrate on this day. This holiday, normally celebrated on the 9th of March, in recent days moved to whatever date the Monday falls. Read below a brief history of a few of our Belizean Heroes and Benefactors.
May the legacy of these heroes live on for generations to come. If you are interested in finding out more about this wonderful history, google search will provide you with all the information in greater detail.Baron Bliss
dropped anchor in Belize on January 14 1926, Although he never set foot on the mainland, he spent two months in Belize’s territorial waters. The English sailsman generously donated his fortunes to the country. His estate was worth $1.8 million Belize dollars, but $480,000 was claimed by the United Kingdom inheritance taxes. Bliss passed away on March 9, 1926 and left a meticulously prepared will stating the do’s and don’ts. Over the years, the fund has produced projects such as the Bliss Institute and the Bliss School of Nursing. The Belize government then named March 9, a public and bank holiday in honor of Baron bliss.George Cadle Pric
e: Known commonly as the Father of the Nation, George Price was the principle political architect in the achievement of Belizean independence in 1981. He formed the People’s United Party shortly after the devaluation of the British Honduran dollar, and later became the first prime minister of the newly independent Belize. Price was the recipient of Belize’s highest Honor, the Order of National Hero. Formerly known as the Western Highway, the George Price Highway, which connects Belize City to Belmopan and San Ignacio, was renamed in his honor.
Known by Belizeans as Madam Liz, Gwendolyn Lizarraga
was a successful business owner, outspoken politician, and women’s rights activist. Madam Liz supported equal pay for equal work and helped women to acquire a property. She was the first Belizean woman to serve as a government minister. Consequently, a Belize City high school and several streets carry her name.Barry Bowen
was a successful business owner and champion of the people. Known for his charisma and down-to-earth nature, Bowen established Belize’s first and only brewing company, Belize Brewing Company – crafters of the famous Belikin Beer. His contributions through commerce, industry, and philanthropy earned him the appointment of Knight Commander to the Order of Saint Michael and Saint George by Queen Elizabeth II. Following his death in 2010, Bowen was honored with the renaming of the Belize City local airstrip, Sir Barry Bowen Municipal Airport.
National patriot Philip Goldson
was a political activist, newspaper editor, and Belizean politician. As a founding member of both primary political parties in Belize, Goldson worked closely with those in power for the benefit of the people. He coordinated the rebuilding of Corozal Town after its destruction at the hands of Hurricane Janet in 1955, organized to make primary education free, and founded the National Alliance for Belizean Rights. Goldson is the recipient of Belize’s two highest honors, Order of Belize and Order of the National Hero. His legacy lives on through the Philip S. W. Goldson International Airport, along with the Philip S. W. Goldson Highway, which connects Belize City with Orange Walk and Corozal.Cleopatra White
was a Belizean community leader, social worker, and health practitioner. As an organizing member of the famous Belizean Black Cross Nurses Association, White dedicated her life to helping people in need. Her village council system model for managing hurricane preparations has been widely adopted across Belize. In addition to her work in the field of healthcare and social work, she advocated for the arts and was a gifted songwriter and storyteller. The Cleopatra White Polyclinic in Belize City owes its name to the legacy of this Belizean hero.Samuel Haynes
was a Belizean soldier and civil rights activist that fought for Great Britain during WWI. After returning from the war, Haynes led a group of Belizean soldiers that refused to accept institutional racial discrimination in their home. Haynes shared his views through his work as a writer and editor of the weekly newspaper, Negro World, created by Marcus Garvey and published in New York. Haynes’ song “Land of The Free”, originally “Land of the Gods”, was later adopted as the national anthem of Belize.Julian Cho
was a man truly devoted to social justice and to the protection of the environment. Cho’s Cho’s last and final victory was the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding, November 25, 1998, with the Prime Minister of Belize to negotiate a solution to the Maya land rights struggle. Before his untimely death in December, 1998 it was a huge loss to the Maya people and to the environment of southern Belize. While the facts behind his death remain unresolved; popular opinion asserts that Cho may have been a victim of his work as a human rights advocate. Nevertheless, his legacy lives on. The Belize Audubon Society posthumously awarded Cho the James A. Waight Conservation Award for his tireless efforts in the protection and enhancement of Belize's Environment; and his efforts to advocate on behalf of the Maya people. The Julian Cho Technical High school was also named in his honor. Every year on April 6, Julian Cho is celebrated and remembered as a dedicated, Maya leader, human rights activist, friend, father, and a son of the Toledo District.Thomas Vincent Ramos
was a social activist leader and spokesman of the Garifuna people. He approached the governor of the colony and asked for establishment of a public and bank holiday to observe the Garifuna arrival in Belize. The request was granted and the Carib Disembarkation Day, later named Garifuna Settlement Day was first celebrated in Stann Creek District on 19 November 1941. The holiday was recognized in Toledo District in 1943 and throughout the country in 1977. Ramos died on 13 November 1955 and was laid to rest the following day. Since 1956, A torchlight parade has been held on 13 November every year in honor of his contributions to Belize and to his people. The parade is part of the week-long lead-up to the Garifuna Settlement Day that he established, which includes selection of Miss Garifuna, parades and special church services, and The T. V. Ramos Classic Bike Race. A statue of Thomas Vincent Ramos stands at the junction of Commerce and Front Streets in Dangriga.Sir Isiah Emmanuel Morter
: By planting and growing bananas and coconuts, Morter built a fortune and is widely regarded as Belize's first coloured millionaire his nicknames included "the Coconut King" and "Guinea Sigar" and he owned Caye Chapel and other plantations. For his achievements he was honoured with the award of Knight Commander of Distinguished Service Order of Ethiopia. He was born in Belize formerly British Honduras Central America/Caribbean.He was a member and staunch supporter of the Universal Negro Improvement Association U.N.I.A..Sir Isaiah Morter was the first great benefactor of the cause of African Redemption.He made the largest single monetary donation to the U.N.I.A and also bequeathed land in Belize to the U.N.I.A. that was seized by the British Crown for example KEY CHAPEL IN BELIZE WAS GIVEN TO THE U.N.I.A. Morter died on 7 April 1924. A statue of Morter can be found at the end of Albert Street, near St. John's Cathedral , in Belize City. He is not widely known today by the public in Belize.Nicholas Anthony Ignatius Pollard Sr.
: Was born in 1924 in To Bacalar Quintana Roo Mexico to Belizean parents, Stella Alberta Gill and Juan Castro Pollard. He was a founding member of the People's United Party (PUP) in 1950. The same year, he was elected president of the General Workers Union. He made major contributions to the development of the trade union movement in Belize. On September 29, 1956, Pollard and nationalist leader George Cadle Price co-founded the Belize Times, now one of the largest newspapers in Belize. In 1958, Pollard broke away from the PUP and formed the Christian Democratic Party of Belize Christian Democratic Party of Belize ( CDP) The CDP contested the 1961 elections, but the PUP won all 18 seats. He served as Executive Secretary of the English-speaking Caribbean region of the Confederación Latino Americana de Sindicatos Cristianos (CLASC; also known in English as the Latin American Confederation of Christian Unionists) from 1961 to 1969. With the support of CLASC he founded the National Federation of Christian Trade Unions in Belize in 1962. In the 1970s, Pollard left public life and worked in the private sector. He became an educator in the 1980s and 1990s. He died in January 2003. He was married to Elizabeth Hoffman-Pollard, and the couple had twelve children.Robert Sidney Turton
: Was a benefactor to the National Library Service and the North Front Street extension was named the “Turton Library” in his honor. He might not been known to the youth of this generation Finally, more than half a century after his death, Robert Sydney Turton is being singled out for recognition. The National Library Service commissioned Leroy Grant compile a book entitled “The life of Robert Sydney Turton”. The book, which chronicles the achievements of “Belize’s first millionaire” from his birth in 1877 to his death in 1955, took over ten months to complete. According to Grant, although Turton was only educated to the standard three level, he was an avid reader and was always interested in, what was then known as the Belize Library.