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#554639 12/21/21 12:23 PM
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Marty Offline OP
Myrna Manzanares

It is with deep sympathy that the Belize Tourism Board joins the nation in mourning the loss of cultural icon, Mrs. Myrna Manzanares. Myrna Manzanares was an ambassador for the promotion and safeguarding of Kriol Culture and heritage in Belize. Through her efforts with the National Kriol Council and her involvement in many local organizations, she became known at home and abroad for her jovial spirit, passion, dedication and wealth of cultural knowledge. Among her many roles, she was a cultural activist, traditional storyteller, historian, poet, writer, and a counsellor. We take this opportunity to express our heartfelt condolences to her family and friends. May her soul rest in peace and rise in glory.


Institute of Creative Arts - Belize
It is with heavy hearts that we announce the passing of beloved Guardian of Kriol Kolcha, Myrna Manzanares. The National Institute of Culture & History - Belize joins her family and National Kriol Council in mourning. Rest in Peace Ms Myrna... Hib ah lang sho up yaanda.


Today, we join the community to mourn the passing and celebrate the legacy of Artist Emeritus Myrna Manzanarez.

Cultural and Community Activist, Traditional Storyteller, Oral Historian, Poet, Published Author

Friend of ISCR NICH


National Kriol Council

The death is announced of Belizean cultural icon Myrna Kaye Marigold Manzanares.

Born on October 30, 1946 as Myrna Kaye McDonald in the village of Gales Point Manatee, Myrna passed away in Belize City on December 21st, 2021 at 75 years of age.

In the course of her life Ms. Myrna, as she was affectionately known, distinguished herself as an educator, published writer, dramatist, international story-teller, community counselor and cultural activist. She is best known for her work in culture where she was a founding member of the National Kriol Council, its Past President and Cultural Attach�.

She is survived by her daughter Shalini Manzanares and son Robert Spain and her grandchildren, Ansel, Nathifa, Rayzaun and Renae. She is also survived by two brothers Lance Lockwood and Selwyn Terry as well as several nieces and nephews.

She also leaves behind to mourn: her family at the National Kriol Council, members of the many other organizations of which she was a part, and many close friends who loved her dearly.

She is predeceased by her mother Iris Abraham and brother Wayne Neal.

A funeral service in celebration of her life will be held at All Saints Church in Belize City on Wednesday, December 29th, 2021, where the she will lie in state at 9 a.m. for service at 10 a.m.

Her internment will be conducted immediately after the service at the Gales Point Village Community Cemetery. Please note funeral service will be streamed live from both locations on Coye's Funeral Home Facebook page

A bus will be available for those wishing to attend. Covid19 protocols will be observed.
Marty #554645 12/22/21 05:27 AM
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Marty Offline OP
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NICH Notes With Sadness The Passing of Beloved Cultural Activist Myrna Manzanares

The National Institute of Culture and History mourns the passing of cultural activist, renowned dramatist, poet, writer and educator Myrna Manzanares, M.B.E. who passed away today, 21st December 2021.

Miss Myrna, as she was affectionately known, was a founding member of the Belize Theatre Company in 1992, performing in its premiere production of Shirley Warde's "When My Father Comes Home", directed by Beverley Smith-Lopez. She played a lead performance in the Company's production of Godfrey Sealy's "One of Our Sons Is Missing", directed by Diane Haylock, and directed the production of Carol Fonseca's "The Saga of Tiky Bood", both in 1995. Her final performance with Belize Theatre Company was in 2012 with her acclaimed performance in Paul Zindel's "The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-In-The-Moon Marigolds", directed by Michael Coye.

During her lifetime Miss Myrna produced numerous Kriol short-stories, plays and monologues. Her publications include "Traditional Games of Belize" and the poetry anthology "The Healing Circle". Her writings have also been included in the folklore collections "Memories, Dreams, and Nightmares" and "Tek Mi No Tek Mi".

She was a founding member and past-president of the National Kriol Council, which was formed in 1995. Along with Dr. Sylvana Udz she was instrumental in the retrieval, documentation and promotion of Belize Kriol as a language via the publication of the Kriol Dikshineri (Dictionary).

Additionally, she was a founding member of the Belize History Association, formed in 2014 and a member of the Intangible Cultural Heritage Network under the National Institute of Culture and History (NICH), where she assisted in the documentation of Belize's living heritage.

In 2018 she was given the title of Artist Emeritus of Belize by NICH in recognition of her life-long contribution to Belizean culture.

She will be remembered for her good humor, her passionate advocacy of Kriol history, culture and traditions and her dedication to Belizean Theatre. "Hib ah lang sho, Miss Myrna...Hib ah lang sho."


Message from BHA Chair, Dr. Abigail McKay on the passing of cultural icon, Myrna Manzanares. May she rest in peace & may we all remember her work in promoting Kriol Kulcha


The Museum of Belize joins the nation and our departments of the National Institute of Culture and History, as well as cultural stakeholders and beloved colleagues in mourning the passing of cultural icon Kay Abraham also known as "Myrna Manzanares". Affectionately called "Ms. Myrna" or "Ms. Kay", she dedicated her life to preserving and representing both the intangible and tangible aspects of Belize's Kriol and cultural traditions.

We extend our heartfelt condolences to her daughter, Shalini Manzanares and her extended family. May her soul rest in peace and rise in glory. Hiban Long Sho, Ms. Myrna! Foreva inna wi haat.

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The Belize National Library Service and Information System, in paying tribute to the memory of Myrna Manzanares, recognizes her as a cultural ambassador who is no stranger to the cultural communities of Belize.

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Marty #554646 12/22/21 05:34 AM
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"Spirit of Kriol Kulcha" Myrna Manzanares Passes

We reported on Monday that Creole culture advocate Myrna Manzanares was critically ill in the K.H.M.H. Intensive Care Unit. Manzanares passed away shortly before two this morning, never waking up from a coma that she fell into since suffering a stroke last week Wednesday. Several organizations, including the National Kriol Council, the United Democratic Party, and the Belize Tourism Board, have joined the chorus in expressing condolences on her passing. Today, her close friend, Silvaana Udz, who lives in Taiwan, joined us via Zoom to discuss how they worked together to bring about the initial undertakings that would set the foundation for the Belize Kriol Project and the National Kriol Council.

Silvaana Udz, Friend of Myrna Manzanares

"Thirty odd years ago, early 1990s, Myrna, Leela Vernon, Bredda David, Sir Colville - everybody - we all come together, the late Mr. Percy, the late Mr. Peters, see how much "late" done een deh - and now who cudda tell mi we wudda di talk bout Myrna like this, 2021? But anyway, Myrna mi neva hesitate. From the very beginning, Myrna mi offer Pride Belize - well, ih mi di work da Pride Belize and dehn had wa office. Pride neem deh round agen right, but deh had wa conference room. She mi get dehn permission fi mek wi meet deh because wi neva had no way fi meet. An da soh wi staat put togedda ting and get the language di goh an wat not.� Wen wi staat di Kriol project, I think you mi deh Marion da Radio Belize or what was the next Radio Belize and dehn had a thing named "Village Life." Now we neva had no money, wi neva had nothing but yoh cyaa jus put dictionary and spelling system together fi ih be true true as deh seh in English, authentic. Yoh have to test it with people.� Soh weh we do, we get the idea fi ask the then Radio Belize or what Radio Belize had become, if we couldn't bandwagon pahn fi dehn Village Life. Soh everytime dehn wudda have Village Life deh wudda have wa season of it. We goh to all the lee village dehn weh have the best ah the Kriol. And wi just di work the language but Myrna always work the culture wid it. Language da part ah culture but yoh cyaa deh wid Myrna unless drums di beat. Myrna so very, very instrumental. One ah the people deh long wid Emmett from Gales Point, Manatee weh mek people conscious bout the Kriol Sambai, the Gumbei drum, the cutter drum.� Ih mek some book about the Kriol riddles and and Kriol children games, and ih mi di work pahn wa ting bot the late Philip Goldson. Wen ah mi deh home last, wi mi sidong togedda da Bird's Isle - me, she and Marilyn, the Interim president and ih had quite a bit of it done of the late Philip Goldson. Soh wi have to try see weh dat deh."

Manzanares: a Listener, Creator, and Singer

Among her accomplishments, Myrna Manzanares was instrumental in helping to create the Kriol dictionary and Kriol translation of the Bible. But, there were other things about the late Manzanares that some people may not know. Silvaana shared some of those aspects of her late friend, referring to her as "The Spirit of Kriol."

Silvaana Udz, Friend of Myrna Manzanares

"Myrna da mi also wa trained school counsellor. And nuff students thankful to Myrna because Myrna could listen. Listening daw a skill. She listen to dehn. She help deh tru all kinda ting, help all kinda people. Any school want hear bout Sambai, knock drum (singing) and wat not, look ya man, Myrna - dehn nuh got no money – wa lee lee school, no money. I seh Myrna at least mek deh pay yoh passage self fi the bus noh, if somebody cyaa ker yoh. Nuh man, ih seh deh school cyaa afford it. You know weh Myrna do? Myrna dig oh beg ride pahn road because bus might nuh di come or sonting and the pikni deh di wait. Ah mean, Myrna jus give, ih jus give, give, give, give, Marion! Da lady neva stop give. Ih last penny ih give yoh. The last piece ah bread if ih have ih give yoh. But ih give yoh ih time. And ih give yoh weh eena ih mind.� Myrna had a way that nuh kay how tiad ih tiad, you just ask ah one ting wid the word Kriol or drum or link to Africa or roots and everything stop because she want you get the sense.� Ah waa know who seh Kriol nuh got no kulcha - right round Myrna table Leela mi di share wid wi dehn lyrics. Dat da Leela song right. And right round d table ih seh weh unu tink bout dis line, and dat line. And ih seh yoh know wat, wi di staat up the language ting, mek wi put in wa verse bout the language. Soh wa verse gone right een "Ah waa know who seh kriol nuh got no language." Da right round Myrna dining room table dende ting create. Wi had wa ethno-musician da Belize di talk bot put ting eena yoh own language, the language ah yoh heart. And Matthew Chapter whatever, sorry, Matthew eleven, when, eena English da "Come to me all ye who are weary and I will give you rest." Well that translate (singing) Myrna used to sing it but I cyaa sing. Wen yoh tiad ah kerry yoh heavy load kohn ya kohn rest. Soh I guess Father God know why ih call Myrna. Yoh couldn't ask fi wa lady weh more selfless."

Channel 5

Myrna, The Creole Cornerstone

And switching now to a celebration of life, at least, that's the way Myrna Manzanares would have wanted to frame it it.

The 75 year old Cultural icon passed away early this morning leaving a host of friends, students, and even acquaintances to mourn the passing of the Kriol's truest cultural champion and warrior.

She was one of the 10 founding members of the National Kriol Council, a cultural ambassador who spent her life promoting the Kriol culture both at home and abroad touching countless lives in the process.

This morning Cherisse Halsall reached out to her Kriol council family and they told us about the woman, the teacher, and the icon.

She was a cornerstone of the creole culture, a champion of her culture's language and artistic expressions.

When she mustered all the spirit she could 9 days ago to raise out of the couch and dance for us on the Sunup set, that, in an act, was Myrna Manzanares. She did not advocate for her culture; she engendered it; she did not try to keep it alive; it lived in her.

And the news of that joyful moment went all the way across the world, touching Myrna's friend Silvaana Udz in Taiwan. And while it was almost too much for her to bear Silvaana recounted their lives work in the preservation of creole culture.

Silvaana Udz, Linguist/ Cultural Activist
"My most thing was the language right, her thing was the culture and the language, beating the drum, the sambai, telling stories under the mango tree, the whole story telling part, the call and response, the link to Africa, the moon, I mean Myrna was my teacher and my friend."

"And if it was her last dollar, you mention that compassion, aye ah aye sometimes you want to just knock her with your love, Myrna you need it more than me pet."

And that generosity of spirit was perhaps one of the tenet of that old creole culture that Myrna had grown up in something she cultivated and represented with her own generosity of spirit.

Marilyn Garvin, Interim president, National Kriol Council
"I think with Myrna the whole culture itself, the creole culture, I mean she defines who is a creole person and what creole is all about."

"She really impacted the country and everybody she came in contact with, she helped them, she boosted them, she educated them about the culture. I mean from simple things like cut up roots and Wangla and things like that, Myrna is gonna talk about that."

Hon. Patrick Faber, UDP leader
"It is Artist Emeritus Myrna Manzanarez, who all Belizeans know to be the champion of the Kriol language, or one of the main champions of the Kriol language, a storyteller, a poet, and somebody who we've long recognized - so happens that Myrna is UDP, but that is neither here nor there. She is one of Belize's greatest talents. Myrna was in a situation financially with her home. All Belize now knows that the National Institute of Culture embarked on an initiative that we deem certain artists to be artists emeritus. I think that Lord Rhaburn is one of those artists. Myrna Manzanarez was also one of them."

And when one assesses the life of Myrna Manzanares it won't be the accolades she received or the tributes accorded to her name, it will be the imprint on the lives she infused with cultural awareness:

Sylvanna Udz, Linguist/ Cultural Activist
"Her biggest thing was to get people to do little things, every day little things like Jump to the Sambai beat, understand what is Sambai, the fire Sambai."

"But her biggest thing is that no matter what a pikni must know they're culture and must know the beat, the beat of the culture. Anytime you see Myrna its because she had her drum with her and she was never to tired. Sometime you would meet Myrna on the roadside begging for a ride to talk at a school, any school ask, and I said Myrna at least have them pay for your passage no man, lord. So we tried to take her when we could. Issues with her car and what not, but she would get out a road side and beg ride, she would say that little school fireburn only has 34 pikni and you going all the way to Orange Walk to a school, she would say If one pikni get the beat, it's one more pikni that."

Kashmir Bernard Claire, Secretary, Creole Council
"To me Myrna was such a great example of a genuine person, like everything I can recall-MBE the same year that she was named woman of the year that year as well. And so my view is that just about everybody that you turn to can tell you about Myrna Manzanares."

And ultimately how did Myrna Manzanares live her life?

Arlette Woods Claire, Creole Council
"To the fullest, to the fullest, normally around Christmas we would go and visit Miss Myrna, I wah get me cashew wine, mi berries wine all the way from "Malantee" but her books will live on, the creole dictionary will live on, how to read and write creole, wer will keep it going in her memory and like I said her memory will not just be a memory. We will make sure we have something to do maybe on her birthday because she loved celebrations and like right now, we would have already started to Bram."

"As that drum beat then she would next day, aye mi foot swell, next day mi foot swell. But Myrna you over did it. When you hear that drum and its true, because even me when I have pain and you hear that drum, no care how the pain hits you and that drum start beat, you get up and that sambai, you don't feel anything."

Sylvanna Udz, Linguist/ Cultural Activist
"You know the creole saying one one okro full basket, that's a creole saying and the creole council adopted it, that came from Myrna because, Myrna said we can't solve everything, one little thing at a time. If we touch one, that one will touch a next one, a next one and that was her philosophy I would say and one, one okro full basket. When some people were suggesting and you always get different opinions and a new crowd come in and a few people come in and they say this sounds like we can't get ahead too fast, one, one okro, we need to move faster than that and get projects - good idea and kudos to that, but Myrna put down her foot and say one, one okro, the one could be big, it could be small, but one thing at a time."

Manzanares had a stroke and was found unresponsive in her home last week Wednesday morning. She remained hospitalized in the intensive care unit for 6 days before she passed around 1:30 am this morning. No funeral arrangements have been announced.

Manzanares' Home Was In the Middle Of A Political Pickle

And while Myrna's life is being celebrated tonight, that wasn't the case back in April when she was at the middle of a minor political intrigue. In an unfortunate public exposition, the government put some uncertainty about the ownership of her home at the center of a hive of pointless speculation. It was all based around the fact that NICH, while under Patrick Faber's ministerial portfolio, had rescued Manzanares - who had been recognized as an artist emeritus - from losing her home to foreclosure.

At the time there was much made of the 100 thousand dollars in public funds with leading PUP personalities implying that the arrangement and its transaction were improper and clouded with uncertainties. At the time Faber defended the decision calling it a quote: " major value for the expense" while allowing the organization to "look after a cultural icon."

This morning we asked the secretary of the Kriol Council Kashmir Claire what that moment in time was like for Manzanares? Here's what he told us.

Kashmir Bernard Claire, Secretary, Creole Council
"Because Myrna is the kind of person that is always willing to give and she was always here alone, her daughter and son resides in the U.S. but she was always there alone."

"And she is a private person, she didn't say much and she was having some little financial difficulties. That scandal was uncalled for because it was not what it appeared to be. It was an arrangement with N.I.C.H because she used to go there everyday and she did work with them and they had an arrangement, it was not that they were paying her bills or anything it's just a different arrangement, as I understand it, that it was more of a sale and it was just what have we done for our people, I, when he debt was posted one of the comments said, same thing like Leela but this is our problem we leave our people, our culture people that make some much contributions, like we just forget about them and that is why N.I.C.H had reached out to her because they felt that she deserves a little assistance and we're not giving her anything. We will be getting back from this arrangement."

Hon. Patrick Faber - Leader of the Opposition
"These individuals got a small monthly stipend to go along with that designation of being an artist emeritus. Once we found the situation with Miss Manzanarez, we thought that we should try to assist, and as far as I recall, the proposal that the board put forward, voted on, and passed saw that Myrna would not necessarily receive that little stipend."

"And that we would try to help her to secure a dwelling space because she lived in the house that was about to be foreclosed on by the Social Security Board. So, NICH contacted the Social Security Board and sought to find out how the transaction could be done. I want to make it clear that at no time did NICH intend to pay off the debt on behalf of Miss Myrna, and that she could continue owning the proper, so to speak. The transaction was such that NICH would own the property. I believe that the transaction concluded for about 110 thousand dollars for a property that is well over $200,000."

"This house, bought by NICH, would be owned by NICH, would be used later on, the board saw it, for some kind of cultural preservation. But, the board agreed that while Miss Manzanarez was living, that she could continue to live in the house."

And, despite the unnecessary public turbulence the Briceno administration brought to Myrna's world, tonight in a release from NICH they bid farewell to Miss Myrna saying quote: " She will be remembered for her good humor, her passionate advocacy of Kriol history, culture and traditions and her dedication to Belizean Theatre."

Another release, this one from the UDP says quote: " The entire UDP family joins Leader of the Opposition Patrick Faber in declaring our exceeding respect and appreciation for the exemplary life, tremendous accomplishment and immeasurable contributions of Myrna Manzanares to Belize and to humanity.R.I.P Myrna, We will miss you dearly" End quote.

Channel 7

Marty #554752 12/29/21 12:22 PM
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Celebrating The Life Of Myrna Kay Manzanares. Funeral service for our beloved Cultural Advocate.

Marty #554759 12/30/21 05:20 AM
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Fly Away Home, Myrna

Belizean cultural icon Myrna Manzanares was laid to rest today - with a funeral service at All Saints Church and burial in Gales Point, Manatee.

And, tonight, as the country mourns this warrior for culture, we take a look back at Myrna's life's work in her very own words. Cherisse Halsall reports.

This was Myrna Manzanares in her element, dancing in her beloved Gales Point Manatee. She's playful, but also serious, locked in on the Kriol wavelength.

This was a lady who drummed to her own cultural beat, a Bembe for the preservation of music, language, and history.

That was her message all her life and it continued to be in 2017 when she appeared in a tribute to her friend Leela Vernon.

Myrna Manzanares
"Lot a time di Belize Kriol deh, they act like you're not kriol so I really don't want that to happen. You know how important it is that you hear what Leela said. Read that thing there for me. Our children don't know in the schools, they don't know their culture, they don't know anything and so we will teach them through the Kriol council."

At the heart of all she did was always a focus on educating the young, fully immersing them in their own creole culture, and making sure that no matter what they maintained, what she thought of, as that sacred link to the past. She said as much in 2018 when she was honored as N.I.C.H's Artist Emeritus

Myrna Manzanares
"My creole culture, well you know how I go about creole culture, well you know how I go when it comes to the creole culture. I am from Manatee and so I have all of my African ancestors and things that we did. We do it a lot because we were straight from Africa and we ran away and so it is very important to read. That's why I came home because I was in the states, 25 years I lived in that country, but I wasn't feeling good. I wasn't getting what I wanted but when I came home I did. This was my country I went to teachers college and I told my teachers you've got to teach the children who they are."

"In the elementary schools we need to be able to let our children know what our culture and our lifestyle is. As teachers, as parents, we need to teach our children, our lifestyle and our history. That's very important."

Myrna carried out that teaching as a storyteller.

Myrna Manzanares
"And you know what? Who was happy, and the boy was happy and daddy and the whole village because did that bird come back every year to steal a girl?"

"Did the bird come back to steal a girl?"

"No, no, he couldn't come back because he was dead, that's right, that's right."

"And that is how the little girl got saved, and that is how the little girl got married to this young man and the whole village was happy, they were happy, happy. And everybody clapped, come on clap. If the pin neva bent the story neva end."

And up until her last days She continued to champion culture,

She did it with her whole being, a creole woman who spoke old words, and sang old songs, but with renewed vigor and the zeal of a cultural evangelist.

And as she's laid to rest today, all of Belize's cultures - not just Kriol are poorer for it. But, like an inheritance left in the bank, her legacy and lessons live on in these kids who will remember Mr. Martin and Ms. Mryna as parts of the kriol Canon.

Myrna Manzanares
"Mr. Martin gah wah leaky old Dorey peel and bail ah till ih get dry, Mr. Martin gah wah leaky old Dorey peel and bail ah till i get dry oh the roly roly turn over, peel ah bail ih dry, oh the roly roly turn over, peel ah bail ih dry. Mr Martin why you dorey so leaky peel ah bail ah till ih get dry."

Manzanares's home was purchased by the National Institute of Culture and history with initial plans being to convert it into a cultural museum, however, there is no word yet as to whether that will indeed be the case.

Channel 7

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