Public Holiday for George Price’s Birthday


Making a public and bank holiday for the birthday of George Price is one of the most ludicrous decisions of this new PUP Government. When they stopped at George Price’s grave and had a ceremony before going to Belmopan after success at the polls, that was OK for their party. At the event, grandnephew Henry Charles Usher put up his hand at the Leader and said that there should be a public and bank holiday for “Uncle George.” Briceño did not respond, so it was believed that that was that. Then lo and behold: a few weeks later it was done. The Chamber of Commerce representatives have always been saying that Belize has too many holidays (I agree with them) but now, not a peep out of them – they don’t dare.
Sometime ago Baron Bliss was deemed THE benefactor of Belize and 9th of March, his birthday was celebrated with a public and bank holiday. However, some intelligent minds argued that there were other prominent people who had contributed to Belize’s welfare but were not mentioned – people like Marcus Garvey, who jump-started the UNIA and Black Cross Nurse movements, and Isaiah Morter, who had contributed immensely to Belize. A statue of Morter was much, much later erected at the end of Albert Street. The 9th of March was therefore designated Heroes and Benefactors Day. George Price and Philip Goldson, the only two official Heroes of Belize were then a part of that Day. Interestingly, Chief Justice Crane had passed sentence on Philip Goldson and Leigh Richardson on November 7, 1951. Shortly after their imprisonment Price summoned a meeting of the PUP at the Battlefield Park at which he (Price) praised them (Goldson and Richardson) as ‘heroes’ of the people who were making a sacrifice that is worthy of the people’s cause!
When Patrick Faber and Michael Peyrefitte brought it up, Fonseca jumped up to say yes, but there is only one father of the nation and Cordel Hyde and others mimicked that. In truth and in fact, it is only a PUP thing. When they promoted George Price, who were they that did so? All rabid PUPs: Winston Smiling (Price’s family), Bobby Leslie, Valerie Lovell on behalf of her PUP grandmother, various family member and other die hard PUPs. Indeed he was the Premier when Belize got its Independence, indeed he was the first Prime Minster of the country, but so are all the former British colonies’ leaders when they got their independence but NONE called those leaders Father of their Nation. Yes they have their National Heroes e.g. Jamaica has her Bustamante and Norman Manley and Paul Bogle, Trinidad has her Eric Williams, Guyana has her Cheddi Jagan and Forbes Burnam, Barbados her Errol Barrow. Those are Caribbean former leaders but the same can be said about the other African, Indian and Far East colonies as well. And NONE have a holiday for their birthday. Belize looks ridiculous to the rest of the Commonwealth countries, indeed the laughing stock of them all and the world.
The PUPs are so stuck with partisan politics and Price worship that they are not aware that history will not be kind to them. Now, every shortfall for every Minister is because of the past administration. An intelligent or rather educated person like Dolores Baleramos publicly declared about Pantry “I have abolished that word ‘Pantry’; it is now grocery bags.” What an absolute ludicrous statement. So ridiculous! She is ignorant of the fact that with modern technology her statement was heard all over the world. She has “abolished” a normal and appropriate English word which has been in existence for many centuries before she herself was born. All because the UDP started it and came up with the Pantry programme.
The replacement of Columbus/Pan American Day which has no significance was good. It’s just like the replacing of Prince Charles’ birthday, of 14th of November with Garifuna Settlement Day (At first only Dangriga and Toledo had the holiday). That was OK, and so was replacing 21st April which is the Queen’s birthday, now celebrated on May 25th which is already a public and bank holiday; that was OK. But to just add George Price’s birthday, come on! What it does is to bring up things about Price by families that he had victimized, his policy of “I will reward my friends and punish my enemies,” his disgraceful lot stock and barrel sell out of Belize and disgraceful kick out from England in 1957. His signing of the infamous Heads of Agreement, which would have given Guatemala so much; it led to riots during which a man, Silvino Riverol was killed. The first leader of the PUP Johnny Smith had been adamant that Price betrayed Richardson and Goldson… He claimed that Price took any disagreement with his point of view as a personal attack was vindictive and neither forgot nor forgave… He said Price took credit for projects in his constituency that had actually been done by government and was ‘a liar, hypocrite and traitor’
So such a holiday as George Price birthday has no merit whatsoever. Punto final.
[Notes 1 & 2: GEORGE PRICE A Life revealed The Authorized Biography by Godfrey P. Smith pgs. 100, 106.]