On December 15th Emory King will have lived in
Belize for half a century.
"I have seen a lot of changes in 50years," he
says, "and many of them are in me. I have to
buy longer and longer belts and shorter and
His work in Belize started in 1954 when he got
a job as public relations officer for the
Jesuits' St. John's College. Two years later he
started King's Tours in the lobby of the Fort
George Hotel-the first tour guide in what was
then British Honduras. He was also Secretary of
the Government's Tourist Committee. Recalling
tourism in those days he says, "The plane came
twice a week from New Orleans-a four-engine
propeller aircraft that took four hours to get
here. Two people got off and three people got
on. We had a net loss of population every time
the plane came."
In spite of all that King has maintained his
interest in promoting tourism for Belize ever
As secretary of the British Honduras Chamber of
Commerce he was instrumental in arranging for
the Mennonites to come to the Colony in 1958.
He has maintained close personal relations with
them ever since.
From being active in tourism he went into real
estate and insurance. Along the way he met and
married "the prettiest girl in Belize" in 1959.
They will celebrate 45 years together in May
He began writing a column, Belize
Merry-Go-Round, for the Belize Times at the
reguest of Premier George Price in 1974. That
led to his first book, Hey Dad, This is Belize,
in 1978 and a year later his editorship of the
Belize Times (while the PUP conducted a
year-long campaign for re-election).
In 1979, too, he was able to introduce
film-making to Belize, when he got Larry de
Waay to produce "The Dogs of War" in Belize.
Other films have followed, The Mosquito Coast,
The Heart of Darkness, After the Storm, to
mention a few and the Fox TV Show, Temptation
By 1980 he brought the first private Earth
Station to Belize, and formed Tropical Vision
Ltd. with Nestor Vasquez for the rental of
videotapes. That, of course, led to broadcast
television although King was no longer involved
in Tropical Vision. He began Great Belize
Productions with Stuart Krohn in 1982, which
led some years later to another broadcast TV
station, (with King out of the company again).
By 1984 he was Chairman of Regent Insurance
Company Ltd. a company he and a few friends
started. King was elected Chairman of the
A year later he wrote, I Spent it All in
Belize, his second book. Then followed a book
about the history of Belize and Brodie's
Department Store to celebrate the company's
100th anniversary in Belize. Then a book about
his father-in-law's life in San Pedro,
Other books followed, including a four-volume
history of Belize and two other books on
Belize's past. In all he has written 14 books
In 1986 he introduced Michael Ashcroft (now Sir
Michael, Lord Ashcroft) to the possibility of
buying the Royal Bank of Canada in Belize. The
deal went through and King is still on the
board of the Belize Bank and its parent
Company, Carlisle Holdings Inc.
In 1990 he was closely ass9cuated with the
construction of Belize's first hydro-electric
plant at Mollejon in the mountains behind
When he turned 70 in 2001, there was a couple
of big parties in this honour. A former U.S.
Ambassador, George Bruno, wrote him to say,
"Emory, you have reached the third stage in
your life: first is infant, second is adult,
and third is when everyone tells you how good
He produced Belize's First Annual International
Film Festival in January 2003. For years he has
produced an Annual Tribute to Belizean Patriots
at which the Prime Minister bestows medals on
deserving people on the behalf of the nation.
Will there be a party in honour of his Golden
Anniversary in Belize? Who knows? He says he is
busy writing columns, giving speeches and
lectures, and promoting Belize as a place to
make movies and tlevision films. He was
appointed Film Commssioner of Belize in 1999 by
Prime Minister Said Musa.
What of the future? "I am looking forward to he
next 50 years in Belize" he says.