Karen Lake Diaz Dame Minita was Patroness of the Belize Red Cross while I was on the Board. She always supported our events and offered her sponsorship. Additionally, we both volunteered at the Belize Hospital Auxiliary. Sometimes I would pick her up or drop her back to her home at Newtown Barracks. She loved her plants at that place. Dame Minita was a stickler for protocol and never left her house unless she was perfectly matched from head to toe. I admired her greatly. It saddened me when her health diminished. May she Rest In Peace.
Evondale Coburn As kids growing up on Plues St. we always knew Dr. Dame Minita Gordon was a beacon of light. She would pass our house daily to and from work greeting and holding conversation with everyone in the neighborhood. As youngsters we were intimidated by her stern demeanor but later we found out she was firm but fair. She would engage us with her regal presence when we were hanging out at the corner of South St. reminding us to stay out of trouble and that she was available if we need help with our school work. I had already migrated to the US when Dr. Gordon was appointed Governor General and was not in any way surprise. Thank you Dr. Dame Minita Gordon for your exemplary service to your country and community.
Anthony Zuniga I was principal teacher at some schools in the Belize district. I recall reading Dr. Dame Minita Gordon's comments when she visited these schools as an education officer back in the early 1970's.
Anita Mesh Over the past years, the University of Victoria (UVIC) in Canada has granted Belizean educators with a scholarship under her name. In 2002, it was an honour for me to be the recipient of such prestigious scholarship. I will always be grateful to her for this award. May her soul rest in peace and rise in glory.
Mike Weller When we learned that Dame Minita Gordon was visiting Holy Ghost School Dangriga in her official capacity as Governor General, the entire office staff and garage just about shut down and joined the pupils next door to welcome her. Nothing but maximum respect for her. Dame Minita had it like that.
Doctor Dame Minita Gordon was educated in Belize City at Saint John’s Girl’s School and Saint Mary’s Primary School, and later graduated to attend the Teacher’s Training College. Her first teaching post was at an Anglican school. She then went on to lecture at the Belize Teacher’s Training College, after which she became an Education Officer. Dame Minita furthered her education overseas, studying at the Universities of Nottingham and Birmingham in England and the University of Calgary in Alberta, Canada. She obtained a Master’s degree in Educational Psychology and later, her PhD in Applied Psychology at the University of Toronto. Former aide-de-camp of Dame Minita Gordon, Alan Usher, spoke about the first time he met her and how she was as a person.
Alan Usher, Former Aid of Dame Minita Gordon
“For the weeks leading up to the independence, that is what I was doing. We already knew that her majesty would be represented by Prince Michael of Kent. Actually I was walking out of the governor’s office at that time, taking notes preparing for that announcement of Belize’s first governor general. When it came some days before, I think the Independence Day was the twenty first which was the Monday and I think it must have been the Friday or the Saturday who the governor general was. Obviously, I had never met the lady before. I found out where she lived and straight away I went across to her house on Plues Street and made an initial meeting and told her who I was and what I was doing. By then I already had my notes, this was before computer, stating to brief her on basically the program that is being place in the next coming day. That was a very, very, very long weekend. The Saturday and the Sunday up to leading up to Monday. You had delegates arriving from all over the world. Lot of things arraigned. It was quite busy. She was a very intense person, very analytical. I guest when you do PhD studies that is what you get. You are analytical about everything. It was really a wonderful working experience. I was in a teaching mode at that stage. The fellow standing in front of the bunch of solder is a major. That rank is what that rank is and the guy with the one stripe is a lance corporal. A full guard is ninety-six. The flag to the middle of the parade is the colors. There was whole new world that she was going into. Obviously public administration she would have had that experience from working in the Ministry of Education and indeed the education department. But understanding the military, understanding the functions of the state was obviously a new experience which she picked up quickly.”
A state funeral in honor of Doctor Dame Minita Gordon, Belize’s First Governor General, is being organized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The public ceremony for the former head of state will observe strict rules of protocol and will also include much pomp and circumstance, as well as distinctive elements of military tradition. Doctor Gordon served as the vice regal representative of the Queen of England from 1981, at the time of Belize’s independence, to her retirement in 1993. As we’ve reported, Dame Minita Gordon passed away on January first in Inglewood, California at the age of ninety.
A State Funeral for Dame Minita Gordon on January 20th, 2020
The state funeral for former Governor-General Doctor Dame Minita Gordon will be held on January twentieth, here in Belize City. The interment of the first Governor-General of Belize will culminate three days of mourning during which the Belizean flag will be flown at half-mast across the country. The body of Dame Minita Gordon arrives at the Phillip Goldson International Airport on Monday, draped in the Belizean flag, where it will be met and escorted by members of the Belize Defense Force. The body will lie in state at the Government House or House of Culture on Tuesday, where it will be viewed by invited guests only. The funeral will be held at the Cathedral Church of Saint John the Baptist on Wednesday. She will be interred at the Lord Ridge Cemetery.
Stuart Leslie, Cabinet Secretary
“So now we know that the flight is going to arrive at 1:30 and then that should be at the Philip Goldson International Airport. I already told you the official persons who will be there, Mrs. Kelorah Franklin, who is the sister of Dame Minita Gordon, will be accompanied by an officer of the Belize Defense Force and basically from there the procession, you have the route, from the Philip Goldson International Airport to Coye
s Funeral Home and that would be it for the first day. Officially, the period of mourning begins on Monday, so as you all know, flags will be brought down at half-mast and so that
s our first day. The following day, the arrival on Tuesday, the nineteenth of January is when we will have the body lay in state at Government House or the Belize House of Culture. At 8:40 a.m., the cortege will arrive at the Belize Bank Limited and from there the procession will go to Government House for the beginning of ceremonies which we are inviting the press to cover live since we can
t have big crowds. It has to be virtual and so there will be some officials there to view the body of the late Dame Minita Gordon and she will be there from 9:30 until 2:00 at the House of Culture. The route for that, like I said, will be from Coye
s Funeral Home to the George Price Highway to cemetery roundabout, Central American Boulevard, over BelCan Bridge, Freetown Road, Douglas Jones Street, North Front Street, over the Swing Bridge to the Belize Bank and then the parade will go from the front of the bank to Government House.”
Dr. Dame Minister A Respectful, Respectable Belizean Woman
Starting Monday, Belize will observe three days of mourning in honor of the country’s first Governor-General, Doctor Dame Minita Gordon. Gordon died on New Year’s Day in Inglewood, California, at the age of ninety. She served as Governor-General from 1981 to 1993. Dam Minita was respected across the country for her willingness and determination to serve this country. Her body will arrive at the Philip Goldson International Airport on Monday. On Tuesday, the body will lie in state at the House of Culture, and on Wednesday, the state funeral will be held at the Cathedral Church of Saint John the Baptist. You can tune in to Channel Five for live coverage of all these events. On Wednesday, Foreign Affairs Minister Eamon Courtenay described Gordon as a very respectful and respectable Belizean woman.
Eamon Courtenay, Minister of Foreign Affairs “Dame Minita as you know if our first Governor General. She excelled in her service to our country, first as a teacher, educator and then as the head of state. Her body will be coming. It is going to be a three day which I think gives importance to the very, very sad occurrence of her passing. I believe that most Belizeans who knew Doctor Gordon found her to be a very humbled, very respectful, very respectable upright Belizean. I think that having a state funeral for her is properly according the right and respect that she is due.”
Government Lays Out Plan for State Funeral of Dame Minita Gordon
Belize’s first Governor General Dame Minita Gordon will be laid to rest via a State Funeral on Wednesday, January 20 with internment at the Lord Ridge Cemetery in Belize City. Dame Minita is the only Governor General to have occupied what is now known as the House of Culture where her body will lie in state next week. The State Funeral will be a 3-day event starting with the arrival of Dame Minita’s remains at one thirty on Monday via an American Airlines flight. Briefing the media on the plans was Cabinet Secretary Ambassador Stuart Leslie along with Head of Protocol Tasha Cain.
Belize’s First Governor General to be Honoured with State Funeral
The Office of the Prime Minister informs the public that the Prime Minister Hon. John Briceño has designated a period of mourning to commence today, January 18, 2021, to Wednesday, January 20, 2021 in honour of Dr. Dame Elmira Minita Gordon, GCMG, GCVO, Belize’s first governor general. As such, the Prime Minister has ordered all Belizean flags flown at half-mast for the three days.
The Government of Belize has planned a state funeral for Dr. Dame Minita Gordon, who died on January 1, 2021, in Inglewood, California. The former head of state will be buried on Wednesday, January 20, 2021, at the Lord Ridge Cemetery in Belize City. The burial will be preceded by a series of events outlined below:
• January 18 – Arrival of the remains of Dr. Dame Minita Gordon at Philip Goldson International Airport
• January 19 – Cortège (Procession) and Lying in State of Dr. Dame Minita Gordon at the Government House, Belize House of Culture. The procession will begin in front of the Belize Bank Limited on Albert Street at 8:40 a.m.
• January 20 – Ecumenical Service at the Cathedral Church of St. John the Baptist, Belize City. A procession will begin at the base of the Swing Bridge on North Front Street at 9:15 a.m. for the service at 10:00 a.m.
The Prime Minister also requests that churches across Belize mark this solemn occasion by tolling church bells at 9:30 a.m. on January 20 to signal the start of the State Funeral Procession.
Due to COVID-19 restrictions, all events are closed to the public. The public is invited to view live coverage of the three-day event via the Facebook page of the Government of Belize Press Office or via live television broadcasts from all major media houses.
Dr. Dame Minita Gordon served as Belize’s first Governor General from 1981 to 1993. Notably, she is the first woman in the Commonwealth to assume the role.
State Funeral of Her Excellency Dr Dame Elmira Minita Gordon GCMG GCVO JP - Belize’s first Governor General.
Closure of Government Offices to Honour Former Governor General of Belize
The Ministry of the Public Service, Constitutional and Political Reform informs the public that approval has been granted for the closure of government offices on Wednesday, January 20, 2021, at 12:00 noon, as a means of showing respect to the late Dr. Dame Minita Gordon, former Governor General of Belize.
On behalf of the Government of Belize, the Hon. Henry Charles Usher, Minister of Public Service, Constitutional and Political Reform and Dr. Osmond Martinez, Chief Executive Officer in the Ministry, extend their sincerest condolences to the nation of Belize and the family of Dr. Dame Minita Gordon.