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John Cadle Price
The Right Honourable George Cadle Price was the first Prime Minister of Belize and is considered one of the principal
architects of the country's independence, and is referred to by many as the Father of the Nation. He served as a
Member of the Legislative Council from 1954-1961, The Legislative Assembly from 1961 to 1964, The House of
Representatives from 1964-1984, First Minister from 1961 to 1964, Premier from 1964 to 1981 and Prime Minister of
Belize from 1981 to 1984, and 1989 to 1993.
Early life and education
The Right Honourable George Cadle Price was born on 15 January 1919 at the Price Family Home at number 3 Pickstock
Street in Belize City, the eldest son and third of 10 children born to William and Irene Price née Escalante. This birth
place was to remain his home until his death on 19 September 2011 - three day's short of the 30th Anniversary of
Belize's Independence - his crowning achievement.
Price was began his education as an infant at St. Catherine's Academy in Belize City. His primary school education was
at Holy Redeemer Primary School, from where he proceeded to St. John's College in Belize City. As a first year student
at this institution and in his own words, he escaped death three times in 1931 when a hurricane destroyed the school
where he was a boarder, and much of Belize City.
In an interview in 2011 he related that after the storm first hit, he managed to flee the collapsed building where he was
in and sought refuge behind a sea wall. During the lull as the eye of the hurricane passed, he and a few fellow students
fled to the central area of Belize City and sought refuge in a wooden house. He managed to get out just before the
Methodist Church collapsed on top of this house and clad only in his underclothes swam through Albert Street (down
town Belize City), where family friends took him into a house and eventually returned him to his family.
Being inspired by the work of the Jesuits in Belize, he determined at age 16 to become a Jesuit priest.
He continued his education at the Jesuit Minor Seminary at St. Augustine, Missouri U.S.A., and thereafter at the Major
Seminary in Guatemala City. The next and final chapter of his education was to be in Rome, but because of the war he
was unable to travel there. His father's deteriorating health compelled him to seek work to help support his family. In
Belize, a family friend found him a job as secretary and translator with Belize Mahogany and chicle magnate Robert
Sidney Turton.
His studies at the Jesuit Seminaries exposed him to the teachings of Catholic social justice, in particular the encyclical
Rerum Novarum.
Mr. Price entered politics with his first election in 1944 where he was pressed to enter the race for the Belize Town
Board three days before the election by Mr. Fred Westby, through his employer at the time Robert Sidney Turton. He
lost. He ran and won in 1947 with his election to the Belize City Town Board.
Price was at the forefront of Belizean nationalist sentiment against British rule in the economic depression of the post
war years, brought to a crisis by the devaluation of the British Honduras dollar in 1949. He led the nationalist
movement as a member of the Natives First Independent Group, which won four of the seven seats in the 1947 Belize
municipal elections. Price won one seat and the other three seats were won by John Smith, Herbert Fuller and Karl Wade.
Price was re-elected for five consecutive terms until 1965, serving as the Mayor of Belize City from 1958 to 1962.
The Group began an open forum in 1948 which held a meeting protesting the devaluation of the dollar in December 31
1949. This led to the formation of a People’s Committee, chaired by John Smith, with George Price as the secretary, and
they called a meeting that very night at Battlefield Park.
In response the colonial government declared a state of emergency with curfew and martial law that lasted 137 days,
but the support for the People’s Committee grew.
George price became the Secretary of the newly formed People’s United Party on September 29, 1950, which replaced
the People’s Committee, with John Smith as the leader of the party, Leigh Richardson as Chairman, and Philip Goldson
as assistant secretary.
The colonial government took a dim view of the PUP’s protests and the colonial governor dissolved the PUP City Council
of 1950-53, when it chose not to hang a portrait of the King at City Hall, in protest against colonialism. Leigh
Richardson and Philip Goldson were charged with sedition in June 1951, for which they were tried and sentenced to one
year in prison. During that year, John Smith resigned from the leadership of the party on November 19, 151 and Leigh
Richardson became the leader of the party.
Universal Adult Suffrage was introduced in 1954, and the first national elections under a two party system were held in
April 28, 1954.
George Price was elected the new leader of the party at the national convention in September 1954 when Richardson
and Goldson were expelled from the party and on the PUP’s sixth anniversary, the party published its first issue of the
Belize Times on September 29, 1956.
Price led Belizeans in opposing a West Indies federation of the British colonies in the Caribbean in 1957 and with a
campaign slogan of “No federation, - controlled immigration”, the PUP won nine seats on the executive council in the
1957 national elections.
His protests caused the British to arrest him also and charge him with sedition in 1958, but he was acquitted when his
case came to trial.
Price became Belize’s First Minister in 1961 with the introduction of a new Constitution for British Honduras and with a
campaign manifesto to build a new city, the PUP won all 18 seats on the Legislative Assembly in March of that year.
The Price-led PUP government lobbied for another constitutional conference, held in London in July 1963 and this led to
the introduction of Self Government on January 1, 1964. Premier George Price headed the new a Cabinet which
replaced the Executive Council, while the Governor remained as head of state as the Queen’s representative,
responsible primarily for defense.
Price continued to move Belize towards independence after the PUP won 16 of the 18 seats in the House of
Representatives in the 1965 General Elections and Belize sent its first delegation to the United Nations in 1967.
Price had also begun to realize his dream of a new capital for Belize, Belmopan where work had already begun in 1966,
and the government moved to the new capital upon its completion in 1970.
Guatemala’s lobbying before international bodies blocked Belize’s path to independence for a time, but Price and the
PUP ingrained the idea of a free and independent Belize in the nation’s psyche in June 1, 1973 by changing the
country’s name from “British Honduras” to Belize, a change reflected in the nation’s currency, postage stamps and all
official documents.
Price and the PUP won the 1979 General Elections with independence as the main item on its political agenda. Britain’s
Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher supported the idea of Belize renouncing “British” status and Belize finally gained its
independence from Britain on September 21, 1981, with Price as Belize’s first Prime Minister.
Price regrouped the PUP after their first defeat at the polls in the 1984 General Elections, and led the PUP again to
victory in the 1989 General elections, campaigning on a platform of “Belizeans First”.
In 1982, Price became a member of the United Kingdom's Privy Council.
In October 1996 he announced his resignation as party leader and on November 10, 1996 was formally succeeded by
Said Musa who had been Deputy Party leader since 1994. Price remained as leader emeritus of the party. Price became
a senior minister of the new PUP government led by Said Musa when the PUP, campaigning on a platform of political
reform and “Set Belize Free” of the Value Added Tax (VAT), won the August 1998 General Elections with 26 – 3 majority
in the House of Representatives.
Honours and awards
In September 2000, Price became the first person to receive Belize's highest honour, the Order of National Hero, for the
prominent role he played in leading his country to independence. He also received the Order of the Caribbean
Community and similar honours in other Caribbean and Latin American countries including the Jose Marti Award –
Cuba's Highest Award by President Fidel Castro.
George Cadle Price died at the Belize Healthcare Partners Hospital at 6.30 a.m on Monday 19 September 2011 after
being hospitalised for nearly a week following emergency surgery. He was 92.
He is predeceased by his parents Mr. William Cadle Price and Mrs. Irene Cecelia Escalante Price, along with his brothers
Mr. Samuel William Price and Doctor John Cecil Price and his sister Ms. Anna Cecilia Price.
Price never married and had no children. He is survived by seven sisters: Mrs. Lydia Mary Waight, Mrs. Jane Ellen Usher,
Mrs. Alice Margaret Craig, Mrs. Josephine Delia Balderamos, Mrs. Irene Elizabeth Canton, Ms. Katharine Louise Price,
and Ms. Judy Sybil Price along with a host of nieces and nephews and other extended family.
George Price was buried at Lord’s Ridge Cemetery in Belize City following an official state funeral at the Independence
Plaza in Belmopan on Monday morning 26 September 2011.
Antonio soberanis
Antonio Soberanis Gómez was an influential member of the Belizean labor movement and in many ways was
responsible for shaping the destiny of the country as a whole.
His Early Life and Background
Antonio Soberanis Gómez was born on January 17, 1897 in San Antonio Rio Hondo, Belize. His parents were
Mexican and had only come to Belize in 1894.
He attended an all-boys school in Belize City and afterward become a barber, going on to own The Panama
Barbershop there. He was affectionately known as Tony by his friends.
Involvement in the Labor Movement
Antonio Soberanis Gómez is most well-known for his involvement in the Belizean labor movement.
In 1934, many factors had strained the working class of Belize. The mahogany trade was in decline, which was one
of Belize’s biggest industries. The Great Depression was raging worldwide. On top of that, the 1931 British
Honduras hurricane had devastated the region. It was the deadliest hurricane to ever strike British Honduras (which
Belize was known as at the time) and caused massive destruction in Belize City.
This resulted in even worse living conditions for most working-class Belizeans and employment rates were very
high. An organization called the Unemployed Brigade was founded to lobby for more jobs and better wages in
response. When they were offered basically nothing by the colonial governor at the time, most of the organization’s
leaders gave up and resigned. They were clearly convinced nothing was going to change and there was little any of
them could do about it.
Antonio Soberanis Gómez, however, did not want to accept this. He famously said that he’d “rather be a dead hero
than a living coward” and refused to stop fighting for the cause, even at the risk of his own life. He had seen the
suffering of his fellow working-class Belizeans firsthand and felt conditions needed to improve. He became
convinced that the best way to better the lives of his people was for Belize to become independent and the British’s
colonization of the country to end.
Time In the Labor and Unemployed Association
In 1934, Antonio Soberanis Gómez formed the Labor and Unemployed Association (LUA) with other like-minded
individuals. He and others in the organization proved to be more effective at seeing to the needs of the people than
the colonial government was, as they once fed 3,000 people in the Yarborough area. The organization also provided
medical care.
The group organized labor strikes, boycotts, and demonstrations in the face of government crackdowns. Antonio
Soberanis Gómez was arrested and charged for his activism on multiple occasions. In spite of this, he continued to
openly criticize colonial officials, people in the merchant class, and other elites regarding the injustices faced by
The group caused some positive changes to occur. They succeeded in raising wages for some workers, getting more
people employed through government public initiative programs, and receiving greater political representation.
The LUA was unfortunately short-lived because of infighting and disagreements among the leadership. Antonio
Soberanis Gómez, however, would continue to fight for the rights of laborers and for Belizean independence.
Later Developments
In 1942, Antonio Soberanis Gómez left Belize to serve in the British military in Panama during the height of World
War II. As the 1950s dawned, the followers of the Labor and Unemployed Association formed the People’s
Committee political party. Antonio Soberanis Gómez would go on to be a councilor in that party. He remained
engaged as an activist for the rest of his life as well as continued his work as a barber.
His Personal Life
He was married to a woman named Violet Garbutt and would go on to father ten children. He died on April 14,
1975, at the age of 78. He was buried at his Santana Village farm.
For decades now, Antonio Soberanis Gómez has been hailed as a national hero of Belize. He continues to be
remembered even today, though he has been a tragically overlooked figure by many labor movement historians
outside of Belize.
In 1991, a bust of his likeness was unveiled as part of the inauguration of Battlefield Park to honor his contributions
to the fight to make Belize an independent nation. The People’s Committee party is now known as the People’s
United Party and is one of the two major political parties in modern Belize.
Leigh Richardson
Richardson was born to Belizean parents in Puerto Castilla, Honduras. He moved with his parents to
Belize, then known as British Honduras, at the age of five.[1] A leader in Belize's independence
movement, he was imprisoned in 1951 along with Philip Goldson for charges of sedition brought against
them by the British colonial authorities. He was co-founder of the Belize Billboard and held leadership
positions in the People's Committee.
Formation of the PUP and aftermath[edit]
Richardson was a founding member of the People's United Party and was elected as its second
leader. He led the PUP to its first major political victory in 1954. After George Cadle Price's
successful takeover of the PUP in 1956, along with Goldson and others Richardson broke with the
party and formed the Honduran Independence Party, which later merged with the National Party to
create the National Independence Party (NIP). Under Richardson's leadership the HIP finished a
distant second in the 1957 elections and was completely shut out of the British Honduras Legislative
Assembly. Richardson moved to Trinidad in early 1958, effectively leaving party leadership to
Goldson. He later moved to New York City.[1] After Richardson's death his family claimed he was
exiled from Belize.[2]
Later the NIP along with the Liberal Party and the People's Development Movement joined forces in
1973 for opposition politics in Belize (then called British Honduras) and became the United
Democratic Party (UDP).
On 18 September 2008, shortly before his death and despite living abroad for decades, Richardson
was formally recognized as a Belizean patriot. He was conferred with the Order of Distinction, the
nation's third-highest honor, during that year's independence celebrations. Richardson's sister
accepted the honour on his behalf, as he was too ill to attend.[1]
Richardson died in October 2008 due to complications from Parkinson's disease.[2]
Dean Lindo
Lindo was born on 4 September 1932 in Belize. He was a graduate of New York University and Durham
University in England. He was a member of the Honourable Society of Lincoln's Inn and practiced law in
Belize beginning in 1964.[2]
Lindo first ran for the Belize House in the Belize City-based Fort George constituency as a member of
the National Independence Party in 1969, but lost to the People's United Party incumbent, Alexander
Hunter. Lindo was elected from Fort George in 1974, defeating PUP nominee Said Musa by 46 votes.
In 1979, Lindo lost his seat to Musa by a margin of 71 votes and was succeeded as UDP leader
by Theodore Aranda.
Lindo regained the Fort George seat in 1984, defeating Musa by a margin of 57 votes, but lost again to
Musa in the 1989 election by a margin of 449 votes. After a stint as the Belizean ambassador to the
United States,[3] he subsequently left active politics.[4] In his later years he maintained a law office in
Belize City and acted as a consultant to the UDP.
Lindo is the maternal uncle of former UDP leader and Prime Minister Dean Barrow.[5][3], and the paternal
great-uncle of rapper and politician Moses Barrow (born Jamal Michael Barrow) better known as Shyne
Lindo died at his Belize City home on 17 September 2018. A funeral service was held at St. John's
Cathedral in Belize City on 24 September.[3]
Gwen lizeraga
Gwendolyn Margaret Smith was born on 11 July 1901 to Sidney Smith and Guadalupe Baeza
in Maskall Village, British Honduras. She attended Mr. Datsun Primary School, St. Mary's Primary School
and St. Catherine's Academy. In 1926, she married the photographer Victor Manuel Lizarraga and they
subsequently had five children.[2]
Business career[edit]
Lizarraga was a businesswoman, who operated a successful chicle and mahogany farm.[2] As she
conducted her business inspecting the chicle and mahogany camps, Lizarraga ignored convention,
driving a land rover, wearing pants, carrying a gun, and smoking cigarettes. She was very
outspoken[3] and authoritative,[4] and not intimidated in her dealings with big companies such as Wrigley’s,
Castillo and Thurton.[3] She was also known as a compassionate employer and one who supported equal
pay for equal work. In 1943, when the British Honduran Trade Union (BHTU) was forming, Lizarraga was
an invited speaker to an April meeting. She urged inclusion of protections for women laborers and equal
wages and while the male participants agreed with her at her speech, when they voted on their minimum
wage standards in June of that year, women were excluded.[5]
Beginning in the 1950s, Lizarraga worked in several areas to promote women's rights. In 1953, she was
hired as a female parole officer[6] for the Social Development Department. In 1954, she began organizing
women politically throughout the country beginning in her home area of Maskall Village. From there she
traveled north to Orange Walk Town, and then to Sand Hill, Benque Viejo and finally to the far
southern, Punta Gorda. In 1959, she formed the United Women’s Group (UWG) with 900 women from
throughout the country, with the goals of empowering women culturally, economically, and politically. To
that end, she co-founded the United Women’s Credit Union, encouraging women save, "even if they
could only afford $0.25 per week".[3] Recognizing that only landowners were eligible voters in British
Honduras at that time, Madam Liz made special efforts to help women acquire property. She took women
from the UWG to the Lands Department to obtain land grants, but they were was told there was no land
available. Marching into the swamps, Lizarraga surveyed and created a map of parcels for the women.
She then took it back to the Lands Department for recording. These women's parcels are located in what
is today the Collet Constituency between Curassow, Elston Kerr and Gibnut Streets, bounded by North
Creek. Similarly when children were denied access to education because there was no money to prepare
the site and construct a school in their poor and working-class neighborhood, Madam Liz and the UWG
women began clearing the mangroves from the swamps with two-man handsaws. Workers from the
Publics Works Department later joined the women and the result was two new schools—Belize Junior
Secondary Schools N° 1 and N° 2—were completed, which were later renamed Edward P. Yorke School
and Gwen Lizarraga High School.[7]
Political career[edit]
1961 marked the first year that women were allowed to run in the country's national elections. [3] In April,
Gwendolyn Lizarraga became the first woman elected to the National Assembly of British
Honduras.[2] She won the Pickstock division with 69% of the votes.[3] Subsequently, she was appointed as
Minister of Education, Housing and Social Services, making her the first female Minister in the country, as
well.[2] She was reelected in 1965 and 1969, both times also being reappointed as Minister of Education,
Housing and Social Services.[3] In 1969, she spearheaded a project to build low-cost housing in the
neighborhoods of King’s Park, Lake Independence and Queen’s Square. [2] Lizarraga staunchly opposed
granting casino concessions in the country and spoke out about her concerns.[3]
Lizarraga was not a candidate for reelection in 1974, leaving office shortly before her final illness.[8][selfpublished source] She was succeeded in the Pickstock seat by her son, Adolfo.[9]
In addition to her public life, Lizarraga was a chess player and helped organize the first chess club in the
country. She also collected folklore and was a choreographer, instrumental in the revival of the Mestizada
She died 9 June 1975 and was buried in Lord's Ridge Cemetery in Belize City. [2]
Lizarraga has been honored by several posthumous memorials. The Gwendolyn Lizarraga High School
was named in her honor[4] and offers both secondary education and tertiary classes in a program held in
conjunction with the University of Belize.[10] Several streets throughout the country are named for her, like
Madam Liz Avenue[11] and Gwen Lizarraga Street.[12] In 1992, as part of a commemorative series, a
postage stamp was issued with her photograph.[13] The "Madam Liz" Award is granted annually by the
Belize Women’s Political Caucus to the woman whose work has been exemplary in improving the
situation of Belizean women and children.[14]
Nicholas pollard
Nicholas Anthony Ignatius Pollard Sr. (March 22, 1924 - January 21, 2003) was
a Belizean politician and trade union leader.
He was born in 1924 in Bacalar, Quintana Roo, Mexico to Belizean parents, Stella Alberta Gill and
Juanito Castro Pollard.
He was a founding member of the People's United Party (PUP) in 1950. The same year, he was elected
president of the General Workers Union. He made major contributions to the development of the trade
union movement in Belize.
On September 29, 1956, Pollard and nationalist leader George Cadle Price co-founded the Belize
Times, now one of the largest newspapers in Belize.
In 1958, Pollard broke away from the PUP and formed the Christian Democratic Party of Belize (CDP).
The CDP contested the 1961 elections, but the PUP won all 18 seats.
He served as Executive Secretary of the English-speaking Caribbean region of the Confederación Latino
Americana de Sindicatos Cristianos (CLASC; also known in English as the Latin American Confederation
of Christian Unionists) from 1961 to 1969. With the support of CLASC he founded the National Federation
of Christian Trade Unions in Belize in 1962.
In the 1970s, Pollard left public life and worked in the private sector. He became an educator in the 1980s
and 1990s.
He died in January 2003.[1] He was married to Elizabeth Hoffman-Pollard, and the couple had twelve
children. The first child was Nicholas Pollard, Jr. who became heavily involved in several national sports
John smith
The People’s United Party has lost its first leader. Today, the party expressed its condolences to
the family of John Smith, who died on Tuesday in Metairie, Louisiana. Smith, who was ninetythree years old, passed away at home with his wife, Consuelo and their children by his side. In
Belize, Smith founded the People’s Committee in 1948 and became the first leader of the P.U.P.
in 1950. Earlier in his political career, he was also a part of the Belize City Council for over ten
years, including a term as mayor from 1947 to 1950. Smith was a member of the legislative
assembly for six years, from 1948 to 1954. He subsequently migrated to the United States, but
remained a proud Belizean. Smith is survived by Consuelo, his wife of sixty-five years, daughters:
Jean Benard, Anne Angelle, Donna Bodin, and Patricia Smith; Sons-in-law, Gary Benard, Terry
Angelle, and Russell Bodin as well as eight grandchildren, three great-grandchildren and a host of
nieces and nephews. Funeral Services will be held at the St. Phillip Neri Church in Louisiana on
Saturday. John Smith, dead at ninety-three.
he People’s United Party (PUP) first Party Leader, John Smith, has died. 93-year-old Smith passed
away on Tuesday May 15th surrounded by his wife and children in his home in Metairie, Louisiana,
U.S.A. The announcement was made by the PUP Secretariat on Wednesday May 16th in which the
Party says that “The PUP pays tribute to the life of John A Smith.”
John Smith became the first Party Leader of the People’s United Party September 29th, 1950 after
the People’s Committee was dissolved making way for the first political party in Belize’s history.
Smith led the PUP for two years, up to 1952, after which Leigh Richardson took over up to 1956.
Smith stepped aside as leader following differences within executive members of the PUP. Besides
being the first PUP Leader Smith was a Legislator in the British Honduras Legislative Assembly,
Mayor of Belize City, City Councilor, and Vice-President of the General Workers Union.
His contributions to the building of a new Belize are two many to mention as he laid one of the
pillows of what Belize is today. Smith was a member of the Belize City Council from 1944 to 1955,
elected Mayor of Belize City in 1947 and 1950, member of the Legislative Assembly from 1948 to
1954, the founder of the People’s Committee in 1948 and first PUP Party Leader. He was also
Vice-President of the General Workers Union.
Smith eventually moved to live in the United States and according to the release even though he
moved “he truly loved Belize and always proud to say he was a Belizean. He has passed this love
for Belize on to his children.” In the press release from the PUP, it is stated that he always credits
the education he received at St. John’s College for his success.
John Smith is survived by his wife, Consuelo Smith (Nee Riverol) and four daughters: Jean Benard,
former Honorary Consul to Belize in New Orleans, Anne Angelle, Donna Bodin, and Patricia Smith;
Sons-in-law, Gary Benard, Terry Angelle, and Russell Bodin; eight grandchildren, Tosha Benard
Harris, John Angelle, Andy Angelle and Laine Bodin, Russell Bodin, Jr., Christina Bodin, and
Connor and Ethan Bodin three great-grandchildren, McKenna Harris and Benard Harris, and Patrick
Harris, and many nieces, nephews, and friends in both Belize and the U.S.A.
Funeral Services for the late John A Smith will be held in Metairie, La. at the St. Phillip Neri
Church on Saturday, May 19th. The PUP Press Release ended by saying that “The People’s United
Party expresses its condolences to the family of John Smith.”
John A. Smith, FMLI, CLU, LUTC was born on May 9th, 1919. The San Pedro Sun takes the
opportunity to express condolences to the Smith family, the PUP and to all Belizeans