South Africa’s Nelson Mandela and Colombian writer Gabriel Garcia Marquez have both been bestowed with Cuba’s highest honor for a non-national, and last Friday, Father of the Nation George Price received the Jose Marti Award. President of Cuba, Fidel Castro met with both Price and Prime Minister Said Musa.
The official statement noted Belize’s support for the island nation, and stated, “In an evening like tonight, Cuba cannot fail to mention its eternal appreciation to Belize and the rest of our Caribbean brothers for their steadfast position of respect and solidarity towards our country. Cuban children are and will always be at the total service of noble and self-sacrificing Caribbean patriots like you.”
While in Cuba, Price met with fourteen Belizeans studying at the Latin American School of Medicine, as well as a larger cross section of other Belizean students at a gathering at the Belize Embassy.
The Right Honorable George Cadle Price (born January 15, 1919) was the first Prime Minister of Belize and the architect of that country’s independence. Born in Belize City, he entered politics in 1947 with his election to the Belize City Council. Three years later, on September 29th, 1950, he co-founded the People’s United Party, devoted to the political and economic independence of the British colony, then known as British Honduras.
Elected to the colony’s Legislative Council in 1954, he also served as mayor of Belize City from 1956 to 1962. As First Minister, a post he held since 1961, he led the team which began negotiations over independence with Great Britain. He maintained that post as premier in 1964.
In 1981, Belize gained its independence, and Price served as the country’s first prime minister and foreign minister until 1984. Defeated in the elections by Manuel Esquivel, he resumed the post of prime minister in 1989, serving until 1991, when he was again replaced by Esquivel.
In 1982, Price became a member of the United Kingdom’s Privy Council. In September 2000, Price became the first person to receive Belize’s highest honor, the Order of National Hero, for the prominent role he played in leading his country to independence.