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Biography of Manuel Esquivel
with Memoire of Kathy Esquivel

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Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 84,392
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"Still Waters" Book Launch

The official book launch for "Still Waters", Biography of Manuel Esquivel with Memoire of Kathy Esquivel.

Sir Manuel, An Unlikely Politician

Former two term Prime Minister Sir Manuel Esquivel is 81 years old now, and - while the senior statesman is now in the autumn of his years, his name is writ large in history as Belize's first post-independence Prime Minister.

In his first term, Esquivel embraced a free market model, with an emphasis on foreign direct investment and tourism. Those might seem pretty ordinary now, but at the time it was a sharp shift in strategy because, up to 1984, Belize had pursued a conservative economic agenda under what was called the mixed economy.

But, while he may have shaped Belize's economic future - Esquivel is most remembered in the public mind for retrenchment and hard times - which defined his second, 1993 - 1998 term.

Now, it all comes together in the first biography of Sir Manuel - written by his wife Kathy. 7News was at the launch at the House of Culture today:

Sir Manuel may have been hunched over in a wheelchair able only to stand for the national anthem, and his one time contemporaries may have been scarce in attendance, but they're all there in his story - as told by his wife.

In her third book, called "Still Waters", the Biography of Manuel Esquivel interspersed with her personal memoir.

Lady Kathy Esquivel - Author
"I think I got the idea that what I was writing even for the biography part was party memoir and so I do feel that as a partnership we were both very involved, not in governing but in the process."

The book traces the career of Manuel Esquivel from a Physics teacher to Belize's first post independence Prime Minister, and it reveals much according to this reviewer:

Doug Singh - Reviewer
"Well after reading this book I realize I really did not know him that well especially when I read one of Kathy's memoirs which said and I quote, 'As an incurable romantic, Manuel wanted to visit San Marino with me, I thought how sweet but Sir Manuel, an incurable romantic? Who know, perhaps the book should have been named easy river run deep."

But the book illuminates not just the personal side, but also the political decisions

Doug Singh
"We will all remember when he was called cold and heartless as a result of the retrenchment exercise that occurred just before Christmas. Well you will learn that Sir Manuel's pragmatic position was that if you were going to lose your job, wouldn't you want to know before Christmas, so you can plan ahead and don't over spend on Christmas and be broke in January as is generally is the case, I don't know if I would agree with that level of pragmatism but obviously most of the public did not either. Seriously and all jokes aside, decisions like retrenchment came with serious considerations and pressures which are explained in the book, which you much read to appreciate the complexities to let to such decisions. Sir. Manuel confessed in the book that he has no PR skills, so that meant he did not know how to do make you feel better about getting a bukut. Sir. Manuel is honest to a fault, genuine to his convictions and true to his cause but you certainly can't accuse him of being political savvy."

Neither savvy nor secretive, the author says she had nothing to hide:

Doug Singh
"And even if Sir Manuel doesn't talk very much, Mrs. Esquivel will tell it like it is as it is obvious that she was not shackled when she wrote this book.

Lady Kathy Esquivel
"I didn't feel there was anything I needed to hide in order to protect his reputation if that what you were asking."

Jules Vasquez
"So then is it that you think that Sir Manuel didn't do anything that needed to kept a secret in his career in politics."

Lady Kathy Esquivel
"Well if he did it's a secret from me too, I know of nothing. I say out-rightly that in terms of marketing himself, complete and utter failure but that's the only thing."

Jules Vasquez
"So you believe he's integrity is truly unimpeachable?"

Lady Kathy Esquivel
"I believe that."

Jules Vasquez
"Any critical reader might say, well of course you believe that, he's your husband."

Lady Kathy Esquivel
"Yes, so if they want to have something else to say, they can, I can only say that I did not hide anything that I know."

A most unusual politician - and maybe no politician at all:

Lady Kathy Esquivel
"The first title I had was an unlikely politician but then I thought that also gave a wrong impression, so I preferred this title but you're quite right and I always, I don't have to worry if he stray because all of those newspapers out there only looking to see him do something bad and none of them found it, so I can only assume there was nothing to find."

But, what the book does reveal is that like all politicians, he hated losing:

Lady Kathy Esquivel
"Well, losing is never fun, losing is never fun. I think why he found losing difficult was again because he worried about what would happen to Belize, like his major concern was the direction that Belize would take." And while Sir Manuel may never be called National Hero like Price and Goldson, we get the sense he would be fine with being called just a patriot.

The book is available for 9.99 in the Amazon Kindle store for the Kindle reader app, and for 50 dollars Belize at Price and Company.

They Wrote The Book On COVID

And Sir Manuel's book wasn't the only one that was launched today. Dr Jorge Hidalgo is co-author of "COVID 19 Pandemic, Lessons from the Frontline" and today, he and the other co-authors, Michael Singh and Dr Daniel Godinez were at the Belize Healthcare Partners to launch it. The book takes advice, opinions, and views from different countries across the globe relating to the preparation and management of the pandemic. Dr Hidalgo explained just some of the viewpoints that will be expressed in the book.

Dr. Jorge Hidalgo - Head of ICU/COVID 19 Unit, BHCP
"The book is a book that is basically trying to get a world opinion. We have 21 chapters. What we did is we collected the opinion of the leaders from several countries. Of course, one of the most important is the opinion on our country, what is happening in Belize. Just before I allow Mr. Mike to talk about it, we decided to have an opinion of people from Brazil, leaders from Brazil. Brazil as everybody knows, went through the pandemic. We have the opinion from leaders from the Middle East to see how they face the pandemic. From India also, at the end we have some leaders from India who commented on the overall situation and what is the future in terms of the pandemic and after what will be the after effect. Also, we have other important points like how the young generation faced the pandemic. We have the millennial opinion. What happened with them, how they felt during the pandemic, how their lives changed dramatically going to online schools to mention that. We have an opinion of a patient, a patient from the initial start. The other part that we thought was really important is to have something about what we do in terms of a search."

And Singh and Dr Godinez also spoke about their contribution.

Michael Signh - Office of the PM (former)
"I thought it was important for the book to also include what happens behind the scenes with a government. I am talking about a government, not necessarily in the medical side of it but also in respect to how decisions are made, what are the underlying issues that impact decisions. At the time, I was a key part of the task force for the pandemic, which was last year, which is when the book originated. So, a lot of the perspective was based on my experience in the task force and also observing some of the international reactions that were happening at the time. It is a very fluid issue. Today, probably, if I were to write this chapter it would be completely different because things change."

Dr. Daniel Godinez- Internist, BPCH
"One thing is clear, which the experts have already advised us and warned us about, is that this pandemic is not going to go away anytime soon. We have to learn to live with it. It will probably take years before we see the end of it. Even so, this virus is probably going to be living with us for many years to come. I am glad to see that some of these chapters are written by people who are physicians and have actually suffered and gone through the Covid disease. So, this is a very personal kind of book. I think that the knowledge that is included here is very wide. As you can understand, to write a book and to compile a book of this type takes a lot of time. Obviously, in the future, things will change but I want to just congratulate Dr. Hidalgo and his team in writing this book."

The book is sold on Amazon for $99.00 US dollars for the paperback and $59.99 for the kindle version.

Channel 7

Prime Minister Manuel Esquivel Biography Released

He served as Belize's Prime Minister twice, first from 1984 to 1989 and again from 1993 to 1998.� But aside from the brief notes on his terms in office in history books and Wikipedia, there has not been a book that reflects on the private and public life of Sir Manuel Esquivel - that is until now.� Today, his wife, Kathy Esquivel, introduced a biography that describes Esquivel as a man of integrity. Here's News Five's Marion Ali with the story.

Kathy Esquivel, Author, Still Waters

"I think throughout the years many people have underestimated Manuel because he's quiet, he's humble, he's unassuming, he never raises his voice, he doesn't curse, he doesn't shout. And so a lot of people throughout his time have thought that he must be a pushover and I think some people decided 'Oh well, we can use him because he's such a pushover.' And then they were disabused of that impression."

Marion Ali, Reporting

The book, "Still Waters" - a biography of the life of Belize's second and fourth Prime Minister, Sir Manuel Esquivel, is a reflection of the life of a man known for his humility, but who was also criticized for decisions he made that many thought were unpopular. The book highlights those notable events and captures key moments in between that many of us don't know of. Kathy Esquivel says the title best suits her husband for despite his calm disposition, he is also a force to reckon with and a romantic.� She says it's all in there.

Kathy Esquivel

"I'm the pragmatist. He's the romantic. He's the romantic. Yes, so he did take me to san Marino 'cause he visited there as a student and he thought it was so beautiful and so many years later we did visit San Marino.� One thing you'd like is also as a teacher he organized a trip to Mexico City. And someone said 'Oh yes, I know of a bus, this Orange Walk driver - they had an old school bus. That was a trip to beat all others and you'll see one picture in here with all of the passengers pushing this bus on one of its many breakdowns. So I put things like that in there as well as the political part."

Doug Singh's first impressions of the book encapsulate a portion of the book that reveals the Sir Manuel few people know.

Doug Singh, Friend of the Esquivel family

"In the very first memoir the author states and I quote; 'Manuel's stoic nature, unfairly portrayed as coldness by the PUP meant that he just did not like to make a fuss about anything, especially if it involved him. This is the first indication that the author is about to reveal the man you thought you knew. The man that because of his public life has been smeared with a brush and painted so many shades of gray that if you believed what was said, you really did not know Sir Manuel."

Singh even had some advice for the U.D.P., the party which Sir Manuel first led to victory at the national polls in 1984.

Doug Singh

"With the current problems that the U.D.P. is having, I would suggest that all those in the party leadership take a page out of this book, three pages in fact, page forty-one, forty-two and forty-three. Therein lies the blueprint of success. You will find in its inception that the party faced similar leadership challenges but was able to overcome it and became victorious.� Yes, it's in the book."

Reporting for News Five, I'm Marion Ali.

Hard copies are available for fifty dollars each at Price and Company Limited on Daly Street, at the U.D.P. Headquarters on Youth for the Future Drive, and at book stores around the country. An electronic read is also available on Kindle for U.S. nine dollars and ninety-nine cents.��

Channel 5

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