BELMOPAN, Belize: the Prime Minister of Belize Dean Barrow has announced a week of mourning in honour of George Price, the country’s first prime minister, who died at hospital on Monday.
George Cadle Price, 92, the leader Emeritus of the People’s United Party (PUP) died at the Belize Healthcare Partners Hospital, where he underwent emergency surgery after suffering a fall at his home on September 14.
In a statement, Prime Minister Barrow described Price as “a giant of a man, the greatest architect of Belizean nationalism and Belizean sovereignty” and that a “diplomatic note had been sent out to inform the world of Mr. Price’s passing”.
Barrow said the government, in collaboration with the family of the late former prime minister, is making arrangements for a state funeral to take place on September 26.
Until that time, flags in Belize are being flown at half mast, with the exception of Independence Day, which occurred yesterday.
“On behalf of a grateful nation to which Mr. Price devoted his entire life, I offer condolences to his immediate and extended family and to the People’s United Party,” said Barrow.
Price, who was born on January 15, 1919, entered politics in 1947 after he was successful in winning a seat on the Belize City Council and three years later co-founded the People’s United Party which he led for four decades.
In 1981 Belize gained its independence, and Price served as the country’s first prime minister and foreign minister until 1984.
After the PUP’s defeat in the 1984 election by the United Democratic Party (UDP) headed by Manuel Esquivel, he led the PUP to victory in 1989 serving as prime minister until 1993 when he was again replaced by Esquivel.
In 1982, Price became a member of the London-based Privy Council and in 1996 he announced his resignation as party leader. He was succeeded by Said Musa.
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.