Mr. Alfred Pandy a resident of Belmopan and a retired senior superintendent of the prison, celebrated his 96th birthday this past Sunday making him the oldest man in the City of Belmopan. Our journalist Emanuel Pech sat down with him to talk about what life was like in Belize when he was growing up.
Reporter Emanuel Pech
96 year old Alfred Pandy has seen many moons and although he is a little slow in his speech and on his feet, I made quite a friend of him yesterday as we sat down to talk about his youth.
“In the dry weather, we used to back water in buckets. To find a little bit of rainwater, we had to go to the Poundyard or pay 2 cents a bucket for rainwater. We take our bucket and put it under the government plot behind the Princess to get a bit of the rainwater. Belize was so good. A coconut was for 1 cent, a plantain was for 1 cent, if you go to the market to buy a swing of fish, 10 cents, but the people were happy although we were poor.
Mr. Alfred Pandy: “I joined the army in 1939 for the 2nd World War. Then it was a Volunteer Guard that was changed to British Honduras North Caribbean Force. In 1942, we then joined back the British. I was sent to Jamaica’s training. Remember we have sent a crowd over. Well, the returned me back as a Drill Instructor . I had been a drill instructor all those days until I become a Commissioner Major in charge of Becombe, the best army. From 1945-1946, they had me dispersed.
After the army dispersed in the mid 1940’s Mr. Pandy joined the prison service in October of 1948 where he was the Senior Superintendent of the prison. There he worked for 25 years after which he joined the public service.
Alfred Pandy: “After leaving the prison, I went to the United States for one year. I came back and worked at the Credit Union for three years and I worked at James Brodie’s for 17 years. They had me retired”.
Reporter Emanuel Pech: “What would you tell young people that are growing up and they feel that they will never get old?”
Mr. Alfred Pandy: “First thing, they have to have manners. The young people today, have no manners for old people. When I was a young boy and a young man, a old man crossing the street…we are going to help him. Today, if you make a young boy help you, they are going to steal you. The people have no manners for old people. Take for instance now, the grocery shop or wherever you go, you tell the people to give you a break because you are old, they push you aside. Belize is not what it used to be.
Despite struggling with old age, a cross we must all someday bear, Mr. Pandy finds comfort in music.