Sir Barry Bowen's Bust unveiled at Municipal Airport - 10/20/17 11:01 AM
As we showed you 11 months ago, renovation on the Municipal Airport were completed in November of last year. It was also renamed the Sir Barry Bowen Municipal Airport. Sir Barry was a pioneering captain of industry who was known for his love of flying. Well today to top off the renovations, a statue of Sir Barry was unveiled at the airport. Here are a few excerpts from today's ceremony.
Dixie Bowen - Wife of Sir Barry Bowen
"It is my privilege to have been requested by the Belize Airport Authority to be asked to commission a statue of Sir Barry for the Sir Barry Bowen Airport, renamed in his honor last November. The truth be known, Sir Barry was always taken by statues. When traveling he would always take time to stop and really study this form of art and I know today he would be so very proud of this lasting remembrance of himself at the airport he so painstakingly designed and was determined to make it a reality. Quoted from moon handbooks, the one about Belize, quote, 'Barry Bowen was a prominent businessman in Belize whose products touched nearly every Belizean and every visitor in Belize. He also was a central figure in the political and economic history of modern Belize and a key link to the British Honduras pastâ€¦Admired or distrusted, envied or loved, Sir Barry was one of a kind. He made his mark on nearly every major event in his lifetime. Bold and full of life, ambitious and willing to take a risk, a man of vision and large plans, he was a multimillionaire who achieved things. There will be no one like him again in Belize.' Many did not understand him; he was a complex man and his views often controversial. He had an impending need to do for his country. He was a son of the soil and in one word extraordinary."
John Greif - President, Tropic Air
"The Barry Bowen part of it goes way back for 20, 25 years. Barry would bring plans; every time something would change. Barry would change the plans, 'Johnny we've got to get this done.' I gave up a decade after Barry started working on it. It's appropriate that we are all here this morning like a family to officially name the airport and reveal Barry's statue. The statue itself is appropriate because it is larger than life as was Barry. Barry didn't just live life. He took a huge bite out of it and shook it hard. It's appropriate that we are naming the airport because Barry loved aviation and was a gifted pilot. My dad thought him to fly and soloed him after only in 14 hours of flight instructions instead of the usual 40 and I think he let it go a little bit longer just because he didn't want it to seem like he was letting Barry go too quick because Barry was his friend. The fact that the statue is interactive here in front of us is important because Barry was all about staying in touch, staying in touch with people, all people. I have personally seen Barry telling the Prime Minister that: I'm sorry sir, I'll have to call you back later because he was busy working out some family problems of one of his yard keepers. Barry cared about people. I thank the Bowen family because as Barry loved aviation and as he loved people and as he loved his family, so did I love him. Thank you."
Sir Barry Bowen Memorialized at Municipal Airstrip
The Barry Bowen statute was unveiled today at the municipal airstrip in Belize City which also carries his name. Among the invitees were his wife Dixie and family, ministers of government as well as friends and employees of the businessman that was killed in February 2010. Bowen would use that airstrip to fly his plane to San Pedro and back to the City almost on a daily basis which was why today’s ceremony brought nostalgia. His businesses in Belize extended to many sectors and he touched the lives of many which was why he was knighted. News Five’s Duane Moody reports.
Duane Moody, Reporting
A statue of the late Sir Barry Bowen walking down steps was unveiled today in honor of well-known businessman. It was erected here at the site of the recently completed first class municipal airstrip in Belize City, renamed the Sir Barry Bowen Municipal Airstrip back in November. Before family and friends as well as government ministers a ceremony was held in his honor.
John Greif III, President, Tropic Air Airlines
“This airport that we are sitting next to exists for two reasons and two reasons only. The Barry Bowen part of it goes way back from twenty-twenty-five years Barry would bring plans. Every time something would change, Barry would change the plan; John we’ve got to get this done. I gave up on it a decade after Barry started working on it. But Junior did not and because of Barry and because of Junior—if there were another statue up and maybe when you die in forty to fifty years, we will have Junior’s statue up here. And I would like to recognize him publicly for his contribution to this airport. (Clapping)”
Also present at today’s event was Lady Dixie Bowen, who spoke of sculptor from Cuba who was sanctioned to take on the task of creating a life-size bronze replica of Sir Barry.
Lady Dixie Bowen, Widow
“In June 2016, my friends and I traveled to Havana and we set out the next morning to visit the various artists. Upon arriving at our first stop the gentleman had just left for lunch so we missed him. We stopped for a bite to eat and then began asking questions about a man we couldn’t locate. Out of the clear blue sky came a comment that several blocks away, there was a large stone of some sort in front of a home where possibly an artist live. And our taxi driver Chino began knocking on the door, but to no avail. Just as we were about to go back, a lovely man came to the door. Graciously, he showed us to his studio and stepped out for a moment and returned with a catalog of his work. Hilly, totally God smacked, was almost speechless; that’s kind of unusual. This was the very person he was looking for and immediately we all knew that this was the correct sculptor for the job; Jose Ramon Villa Sorero.”
It is no secret that Sir Barry Bowen has done a lot for the country, including the aviation industry. Minister of Tourism and Civil Aviation Manuel Heredia Junior says that the multimillion-dollar renovation of the municipal airstrip was envisioned by the late Sir Bowen.
Manuel Heredia Jr., Minister of Aviation
“Sir Barry was one of those that came up with the idea of doing a wonderful and first calls airstrip over here. And you know that Barry, whatever he did he wanted that to be perfect and as best as possible. And hence the reason for naming it in his honor and today the unveiling of that statue which will remain over there for generations to come, hopefully.”