Members of the Lions club raised 20 flags on Thursday, September 19, at the Flag Monument in Belize City in spirit of National Service Day. Thursday also marked the official remembrance for Belize’s first Prime Minister the Right Honorable George Cadle Price. The former seminarian and civil servant went down in history as the “Father of Belize,” serving as Chief Minister, Premier and Prime Minister for two terms and as founder and leader of the People’s United Party (PUP) for four decades until 1996. He died at a hospital after suffering a fall at home in 2011 and was laid to rest with pomp and circumstance by a grateful nation. On Thursday, leaders of the PUP and friends and admirers of Mr. Price gathered at his grave site for the traditional wreath laying. Party Chairman Henry Charles Usher shares his thoughts on Price’s legacy to Belize.
Henry Charles Usher – PUP Chairman:
Mister Price was a blessing to us and this nation. He was a lesson to the world in how to do things right—with honor, with courage and in unity. He treasured his legacy and he lived humbly with the knowledge that he was part of a legend. He was so original with the way he did things. It never bothered him that he was made sport of. It was right so he soldiered on. He had a true sense of self, a sense of purpose that he tried to improve in all of us.
Former PUP leader Said Musa, a Price colleague and his successor, said that George Price was responsible for giving Belize its identity as a nation.
Said Musa – Former PUP leader:
Mister Price was the man who had the vision to build a new capital for us, Belmopan, and so many other things he did for the Belizean people. But most of all, he gave us an identity. Who are you? A Belizean right? That’s what Mister Price gave us; that identity. All of us, Belizean. And so as we honor him, we pray that his example and his spirit lives on in our new leader, honorable Francis Fonseca, and the People’s United Party and indeed for all Belize so that we can move forward, in unity, to a better live for all our people.
Current PUP leader Francis Fonseca said that it is up to the PUP to continue remembering the great man.
Francis Fonseca – PUP Leader:
“On National Service Day when we talk about service, you can’t separate Mr. Price’s commitment to service from his humility. He was a humble man; everyone in Belize, when they talked about George Price, they talk about his humility. He traveled across the country…every part of this country and he was comfortable in everybody’s home; he was comfortable wherever he went. He made the Belizean people feel comfortable in his presence, regardless of who you were: if you were an athlete, leader, a farmer, United States president, he was humble; if you were a young person, a young student, he was humble in your presence, if you were a market vendor or a street cleaner, he was humble in your presence…and that is a very, very important lesson for all of us, especially the young people, but also us-those of us who are leaders in our country. That humility must define our leadership-very, very important”.
While that was happening in Belize Thursday morning at the George Price Centre in Belmopan, a group of kids honored the late Father of the Nation. In the Spirit of National Service Day, Our Lady of Guadalupe Scout Troop in collaboration with the Belmopan Comprehensive High-school environmental club, organized a clean up at the George Price Centre compound. We spoke with one of the Leaders of the Belmopan Scout Troop Glenise Williams who relayed her thoughts on this initiative.
Glenise Williams – Belmopan Scout Troup:
“As a part of the National Service Day, we have volunteered to work with the clean up of the Price Center and our aim is to try to do some clean around the George Price Center. We are looking at service to the community and one of the big things that George Price, especially here in Belmopan was trying to ensure that the “greenrie” was intact and that the place ‘s environment was clean. Therefore, as a service in his honour, in his name, we have decided as scouts and we also have today the Belmopan Comprehensive School Environmental Club. We are using this day to ensure that we work the way that George Price would have want us to”.
We also got to speak with some of the students from the Belmopan High-School who volunteered to be a part of the cleanup campaign.
“We are an environmental club, and we feel that this is something that we should be doing. It’s not something is an excuse to get out of class; we fel very good doing what we’re doing out here today.
“We should have three garbage cans to recycle-these are used to recycle to be better and better for more generations to generations to come in Belize”.
Some trees were also planted on the grounds of the George Price Center for Peace and Development. Activities were held around the country in Price’s honor on National Service Day, and Belizeans were asked to wear the national colors of red, white and blue.