Tuesday, September 27, 2011
George Cadle Price
George Price is the "Father of the Nation". He is the first Prime Minister of Belize (and was also re-eleceted as the third Prime Minister.) He died last Monday from hitting his head when he fell in his own home. He was 92. Today was his funeral.
What a uniquly honorable man he was. He never married and wanted to be a priest but became consumed with Belize's struggle for independence and changed his focus to law, even though he kept his faith through all the years. Although there were others who helped to forge the peaceful independence that was won in 1981, everyone says that it would not have been won without this man. He was able to listen to opposing points of view, maintained a cool patient attitude, but was able to be decisive when they ran up against a wall. Prime Minister Musa said the British were trying to stall the process. They said Belize was not ready. Belize needed better infrastructure,(some paved roads), more experienced leaders. They said that if Belize went ahead with independence, it would be chaos. To the small group of Belizeans who were trying to negotiate with England at the same time they were trying to encourage the UN to support them in Guatemala's claim on the land, George Price was reported to have said, "Ever forward, never backward". They moved ahead and the result was a new nation.
I have been asking people if they ever met him, shook his hand or talked to him. Almost everyone has. It's amazing to me that this man got around the country not so much as a political effort, but from the people's point of view he humbly wanted to stand with the people and know them. He wanted to unite the people into ONE country with many different language groups and cultures. Angelica's mom remembers him going from house to house in what was then the village of Trial Farm. She said here was this powerful important man who was willing to sit down and eat beans and tortilla, just a little bit, with each family. He didn't have to have fancy things. People say he never had a TV or radio. Every person seems to summarze George Price's character in these words, "completely dedicated and consistently humble."
His vision for Belize was to raise up the common person and erradicate poverty.
I thank God for walking with this man, leading him and in turn leading Belize to freedom and self-determination. Almost everyone says it might not have happened as peacefully or quickly without him.