By Deputy (acting)Prime Minister, Hon. Cordel Hyde
At the Wreath-Laying Ceremony of
The 1st Observance of George Price Day
January 15, 2021
Thanks Master of Ceremonies, this is how it looks when you win, the place is full.
Good Morning Everybody,
Father Jeremy, members of the Price Family, His Worship the Mayor, Members of the National Assembly, Members of the Belize City Council, Our Family and Friends from all over. Welcome and Good Morning again.
Over a dozen men and women started out this journey together with the nationalist movement 71 years ago. ONE… would endure and persevere through it all to lead the People’s United Party for 40 years, to six straight General Elections victories and ultimately to Belize’s political Independence. We have more than one National Hero, and we may eventually have more, but we only have ONE Father of the Nation. ONE man who was the First Premier. ONE man who was the first Prime Minister. And, ONE that stood tallest on September 21st, 1981.
A quiet, reticent, humble man, he led us to Independence with all our territory intact in the face of an oftentimes belligerent neighbour who to this day still claims more than half of our territory.
He has forged a narrative that united us an alliance to victory. He insisted that we be a party that speaks to the working people and to those with no work. It is said that capitalism and politics that we practise these days have been high jacked by the wealthy where investing for the long term has been replaced by short-term profiteering. George Price resisted that in his day. He has shown us that we too must resist that in our day. Too many people in Belize have no future at all, no security at work, no certainty at home and not even a decent house to sit in on a rainy day. That is not the Belize the George Price envisioned and that is not the Belize we want for ourselves.
He was a flawed man, as with all men, but he was perfectly imperfect. He lived like no other man lived. Sacrificed like no other did. Dedicated his life in such a way that all manner of men and women can only dream of imitating. Despite being the most powerful man in the entire country for the better part of four decades, he lived in the same house, on the same street, in the same area practically all his life. Wore the same clothes, ate the same food, woke the same time, attended church each morning at the same time, lived the ideals of social justice in its truest form. Empowered root farmers in the north and built roads for indigenous people in the south. Out of the shambles of Hurricane Hattie he build Hattieville and Belmopan. And strove to make us a united, independent and hardworking people.
He believed in us and we believe in him. He inspired such loyalty and love that will never be equalled. In honouring him, we honor the very best of us. This demonstration of our gratefulness for his life and work should not be limited to him but it should rightfully start with him. There was none like him and celebrating him, does not, should not detract from anyone else. That is not the George way.
This may be George Price Day but this is really the People’s Day as he would have no doubt preferred it. We claim him as ours in the People’s United Party but actually he is ours as Belizeans.
Before there was a Pope Francs there was a George Price, the humblest of leaders the world had ever seen. Pope Francis says that we are more concerned in making a living than making a life. We judge success by the index of our salaries and the size of our houses and automobiles rather than our quality of service and relationship to humanity.
In the words of man George Price himself, our true worth is not to own an automobile or to have a big bank account or to display academic certificates or titles. Our true worth as true Belizean citizens is to work to produce the goods and services that make Belize great, to help our less fortunate brothers and sisters who yet suffer poverty, and misery, and humiliation.
See the life of the poor is sacred. We should never drop their cross, it is ours to bear. Mister Price has left us but he has not died. I read somewhere that the spirit of a freedom fighter is not buried in the grave of the valiant. He will be with us on this journey to ultimate freedom for our people—economic and spiritual freedom. He will be with us in this journey to Belmopan to make things right for the people who need our help the most because Mr. Price wouldn’t have it any other way. So we need to seek him out, listen to his voice. Always ask ourselves, “What would Mr. Price do?”
Because what is good for the people cannot be bad for the Party. What is bad for the people cannot be good for the Party.
Pope Francis on his encounters with the old and the sick and the migrants and the prisoners said, “I have often asked myself wondering, why them and not me. I could have easily ended up there.” It is easier to ask yourself in your struggles, “why me and not them?”
I think that George Price often told himself, what is good for the people is good for him.My people, it is time for a pause, a reflection, a moment of recollection. We must treasure the life of every man and woman, the poor, the elderly, the sick, the unborn, the children, the unemployed, the abandoned and dispossessed, the landless, and the hopeless. I think that is the true essence of what we are celebrating here today.
I dare say, that is what Mr. Price would have wanted.
Happy Birthday Mr. Price.