Hon. George Price rolling in a 1959 Chevrolet Impala Convertible
The car in the back was known as a Morris Minor.
George Price Day is today, January 15th 2021 for the first time. George Price was a lot of things to different people, however, many people who knew him personally said he was a teacher.
Here are some comments from members of the Belize National Historical Society:
My family knew him personally, would frequently stop by our little hut on York st and chatted with us all, he knew all our names, it amazed me such great memories he had.
As humble a leader as I've ever known. On more than one occasion, he would be walking on New Road where I lived and where my father Daniel Swasey had his grocery store. He knew my dad as they both attended the 5:30 AM mass at Holy Redeemer every morning. He would stop and talk to my dad and whoever was in the shop. He called my dad Mr. Dan. Such a gentleman he was.
Albert Paul Avila:
Many years ago, when I lived on Douglas Jones Street, one day they told us that they were going to start the construction of the Belchina Bridge. We lived at the End of Douglas Jones by the river. Knowing how things are done in Belize, I told my dad to park our car on North Front Street or else we wouldn’t be able to take out the car once they started. Well , my dad said that we did not have to because they told him that the inconvenience would only last for two weeks. With that we never moved the car. Six months later, we still could not get out the car. George came around one day since he was our representative and my dad approached him to see if he could get some assistance from him. When he came home we asked him what George told him. My dad said George told him “Alberto, for us to see progress, sometimes we have to go back two steps before we can go ahead one step”. These were not the exact words, but basically what he told him. We got the gravel on the street and we were able to take out the car. The lesson learnt from George was that we can’t always be moving forward, sometimes we have to go backwards before we can move forward. I think that is how he saw our situation after Hattie and the realization that we had to move our Capital to Belmopan.
In 1964 I was the messenger for Income Tax Department in those the messenger had to take the cash and deposit book at the treasury Department for checking On my way to the Treasury Mr.Price Summon me to his office he wanted to see the day collection after he found what he was seeking he said you can carry on with your duty the lesson learned he was always on top of his.game and he wanted to see first hand the days collection on my return back to the office I informed the Mr.Telford Vernon who was the Commissioner of Income Tax at that time it seems that he knew every one by name he was also very observant
I remembered Mr.Price as someone who is not above the law even though he was Prime Minister of the country.In 83 as a young Traffic Cop, i met him several times on checkpoints, he never ever allowed his driver to just drive through the checkpoint.He would instruct his driver to stop and we would have to do our regular check just as we would have done on any regular person.Another thing with Mr.Price, he would give instructions to the Police high command which would trickle down the ranks that any Government vehicles seen out after 5pm and on week ends and the driver could not justify his/her movements, then that vehicle should be impounded and the relevant Ministry/Dept. Informed.You try to do that now. He was truly an Honorable man.
When Belize first got self government and he was trying to get the belizean people to not depend on imported goods he used to tell us to use fever grass for tea and use cocoa instead of imported Irish potatoes because it tasted even better.
Cadet Anthony Henderson:
An old friend of mine Bill Wildman, with Mr. Price many years ago. Bill was a British-Belizean surveyor who knew Belize well and I was told that he was one that advised the PM on the appropriateness of locating the new capital where it is today. Bill created Consejo Shores. (photo to the right)
George Price was truly a man of all ages. I still remember when as Principal of Santa Clara R.C. School in 1989 he visited my school incognito. I was teaching my lesson when suddenly I heard the children say 'George Price, George Price'. And indeed George Price, the Prime Minister, was standing by the door of my school. I hurriedly came out to welcome him but he said 'no welcome'. He started to collect the thrown papers in the school compound. That is the George Price I came to know on that day, 31 years ago.
A great example, a fair man in solidarity and umility with a great attachment to his votes as a server of a very beautiful nation, as Belize, an honest man who gave everything he had to this nation. God bless this nation.
When I worked at Channel Five, we were out in the 'boon docks' on one occasion filming a documentary. We came to a gate in a muddy area that needed to be opened for the vehicle to pass through. The Prime Minister's vehicle was just in front of us, first in line. He got out---not his driver---opened the gate, then held it open for both his vehicle and ours to pass through before closing it again. HUMILITY personified!! I remember another story I heard from one of my elders. He related that after Hurricane Hattie when rations were being distributed, he and a group of friends went and collected extras and proudly took some to the Honorable gentleman. Thinking they would have been met with great gratitude, they were instead greeted with the stern rebuke that: you ought to be ashamed of yourselves. That is for the needy and you need to go and return it. They learned a lesson
of selfless service that day.
Penelope Casasola: My story about PM Price was regarding my father Clive Casasola. My father was a prison office in the 1950s, he was shot on the job by an escaped convict. My father was laid up for months in the Male Surgical ward at the old Belize Hospital. Thanks to Mr. Price my father was sent to Jamaica for Orthopaedic surgery and rehabilitation at the Mona Rehab Center. There my father was blessed, Mr. John Golding (later Sir John Golding) operated on my father's leg. That encounter resulted in Sir John coming to Belize to volunteer his expertise in Orthopaedic care for many years. The kindness of PM Price had long lasting benefits for Belize.
Johann Lopez: In 1985, I can recall my first vivid memory of Hon. George Cadle Price. I had just turned eight years old; and while visiting our capital city Belmopan, accompanying my mother, Hon. Catherine Weber LCP, MCollP, Sr. JP, we happened upon the divine presence of the most visionary humble hard working leader I have ever known of. My mother had recently returned from a post graduate scholarship at a university in Scotland. And it was her desire to meet with her dad's ( my grandfather's) long time friend. Hon. George C. Price. Somehow my Mom found out he was in Belmopan. And even after losing the general elections, the father of the nation was still at work in service of our nation. It was one of the biggest surprises I would get as a child. This surprise taught me permanently who a true leader is. We met Hon. George Cadle Price picking up all the garbage he came across and putting them into garbage drums. Our great leader was a selfless humble hard working man. I salute his legacy today and always.
NICH Remembers Rt. Hon. George
Today is the first ever holiday celebrating the date of George Price's birth.
And to reflect on the Great Man, today, NICH will present a video series on the Father of our Nation. According to the program officer at NICH, Kim Vasquez, the three-part series provides an in dept look at who George Price was, seen through the eyes of those closest to him.
In celebration of George Price Day, we are pleased to share the 1st of a 3 part video series produced by NICH. Happy George Price Day!
The first three lessons that will feature in this weekend's portion of the video series are faith, humility, and service.
APPOINTMENT WITH HISTORY: LESSONS FROM THE FATHER OF THE NATION
Part 2 of the 3 part series in celebration of George Price Day 2021.
APPOINTMENT WITH HISTORY: LESSONS FROM THE FATHER OF THE NATION Part 3 - Faith
Final episode of the 3 part series in celebration of George Price Day 2021.
Celebrating George Price Day
George Cadle Price Humility
George Price - Man of Purpose and Vision Documentary
George Price - The Father of Belize
The Right Honorable George Cadle Price, P.C. (15 January 1919 – 19 September 2011), was a Belizean statesman who served twice as the head of government of Belize from 1961–84 and 1989–93. He served as First Minister and Premier under British rule until independence in 1981 and was the nation's first prime minister after independence that year. He is considered to have been one of the principal architects of Belizean independence. Today he is referred to by many as the "Father of the Nation." Price effectively dominated Belizean politics from the early 1960s until his 1996 retirement from party leadership, serving as the nation's head of government under various titles for most of that period.
Born in Belize City in what was then British Honduras, to William and Irene (née Escalante) Price, he entered politics in 1947 with his election to the Belize City Council. In 1949, with the devaluation of the British Honduran dollar he, together with a group of citizens formed the People's Committee. It was the start of the "peaceful, constructive Belizean revolution". On 29 September 1950, he co-founded the People's United Party, which he led for four decades and which was devoted to the political and economic independence of the British colony, then known as British Honduras.
I believe that those who have all along been resisting a day in honor of the Father of our Nation must now stop. As is the case with the ICJ and, as is the case with Donald Trump, it is over. January 15th will be a holiday, Belize is going to the ICJ and Donald Trump will not be president after next week! As is the case with Trump supporters unfortunately, those indoctrinated in their hatred of Mr. Price will hang onto those beliefs though their support and logic has grown weak.
Those who hate and continue to fabricate and regurgitate lies, must now stop.
After seeing what bad governance really looks like –under both political parties in this country-- we must come clean as we peruse this very important period in our history! George Price is a very big part.
Let me lay out the premise for this argument: George Price did not sell or attempt to sell Belize to Guatemala, the man was not a racist and no one has presented evidence that he was a homosexual. These are the three main allegations propagated against Mr. Price and used in attempts to discredit his work and worth. Even today, when persons are heard attempting to disparage Mr. Price, they will use one these three main argots of anger.
First of all, if Mr. Price was planning to sell Belize to Guatemala, he was not very successful. History points to the exact opposition of course, as Mr. Price fought ferociously against ceding any territory to Guatemala or anyone else for that matter. Leading up to Independence, Britain made several proposals for land cession but Price would not be moved. He never wavered from his stand of a Belize “with all territories intact”.
Following self-government in 1964, Mr. Price lobbied laboriously to convince the countries of both Central America, the Caribbean and anyone else who would listen, to support us in our struggle for self-determination (with all territories intact!) Initially just about every country in the region either supported Guatemala, or just didn’t give a damn.
Mr. Price went to work and in an exercise dubbed "the internationalization effort", made friends and won the support of leaders from across the region and beyond. Belize went from relative obscurity to a position of international recognition and support.
Cuba was the first of the Latin American countries to throw its support behind us, followed in 1975 by Panama and Nicaragua. We owe these countries a huge debt of gratitude. For six years between 1974 and 1980, Mr. Price fought to get resolutions passed allowing Belize to become independent believing in the potential of the Belizean people. Finally in November of 1980, the United Nations gave in and a resolution was passed, paving the way for Belize’s full Independence “with all territories intact”.
We became independent on September 21st 1981 and four days later, Belize became a full-fledged member of the United Nations General Assembly. All member nation voted in our favor and only Guatemala voted against. Mr. Price had won, but while the entire world was applauding his efforts and giving him support, many at home were still working to undermine his achievement. Many warned of impending and imminent Guatemalan invasion or even a total collapse of our system. A new wave of emigration flooded the exit gates and today, many still speak from the Diaspora and support any effort to downplay the legacy and importance of Mr. Price.
Here we are now, forty years after that incredible feat and we’re still on our feet “with all territories intact”. If Mr. Price was indeed trying to sell Belize, he was obviously a way poorer salesman than he was a politician.
The allegation of Mr. Price being a racist has also long been refuted. Both Lindsey Rogers and Albert Cattouse were not only Mr. Price’s political confidants but also his close personal friends. To get any blacker than these two, you would probably have to board a slave ship from Mother Africa.
Mr. Price himself was a mixture of refugees from the Caste Wars in Mexico and some original Kriol from Belize; without refute, a man of color. While Dean Barrow has been labeled as the “first black Prime Minister of Belize”, I have always held that apart from the color of skin, Mr. Price was twice as black as Dean Barrow ever was. His policies and personality will forever stand testimony to this fact.
Politics in Belize of course, is played at a very low level and Mr. Price’s opponents have done limbo under the belly of pregnant ants. Yet because of Mr. Price’s determination and strong love, Belize still marches on; albeit always seemingly against huge odds and into an uncertain future. Still, there have always proven enough patriots to keep this ship righted.
Anyone who grew up in Belize during the time of his Premiership will remember Mr. Price as a quiet, humble and principled man. He could be seen walking around the city picking up trash and putting it in its right place and many are the hitchhikers who will relate stories of being given a ride in the famous Land rover. He would ask your name and then proceed to list your pedigree from granny to distant cousin.
Mr. Price was more than a politician, he was a gentleman and statesman. I believe it was Joe Erales who first apprised me of Mr. Price motto of “economy of words, clarity of thought and logic in development”. It has stuck with me and provided much guidance in whatever presentation I might make; even this one.
As for the allegations that Mr. Price was homosexual, the first question might be, “what would it matter?” Still, not one thread of evidence has been submitted to substantiate that Mr. Price anything more than a man given to spiritual needs as opposed to physical cravings. The fact that he was unmarried is no evidence. For Mr. Price dedicated his entire life to Belize and obviously had little time for anything else, including intimate relationships.
While Mr. Price spoke little of his personal life, I remember hearing a story from my father, who claimed to have known Mr. Price since childhood and actually attended the same school. The story was that as a child, Price had been involved in an accident with a horse that supposedly kicked him in his groin. In an entry in his book “George Price: A life revealed”, Godfrey Smith seems to substantiate this when he wrote that “In September of 1922, the infant George must have met with some mishap as the Clarion Newspaper reported that among the passengers of the mail steamer was Irene Price and her son George Cadle Price who Irene was taking to the United States to undergo an operation.” George Price also spent four years in a seminary studying to be a priest and spent his entire life practicing religion. He regularly attended Church and even in his later years, he could be seen walking daily from his home on Pickstock Street to Holy Redeemer where he attended mass. The question remains however, “what would it matter”. Mr. Price was a patriot and loved this country dearly. He fits every criteria for National Hero and a day to celebrate his memory and contributions does not only make sense but is long overdue. Happy George Price Day Belize and Rest in Peace Mr. Price. Rest assured that those who truly call themselves Belizeans will never forget you. God Bless Belize.
Top photograph courtesy Gerald Straughan
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