Posted: Tuesday, January 5, 2021. 1:28 pm CST.
By Aaron Humes: Former Belmopan area representative John Saldivar does not plan to celebrate George Price Day when it is enacted by legislation to start on January 15.
The holiday has been proposed by the John Briceño administration and specifically by Kareem Musa, Minister responsible for Holidays as part of the Ministry of Home Affairs and New Growth Industries, along with Freedom Day (analogous to Emancipation Day) in August, while removing Columbus/Pan American Day from the calendar in October.
He wrote on social media that while the former Prime Minister and Father of the Nation has earned respect as one of two National Heroes – the other being former United Democratic Party leader Philip Goldson – some have not forgotten his darker side.
Saldivar claims that those born after 1984 know of Price through the narratives of “PUP dominated media”, “friendly historians” and those who met him personally, and many of those are pleasant.
But for some, he continues, particularly those who were victimized and even forced to leave Belize because of his “vindictive nature,” those memories are not pleasant, though the persons involved are long dead.
No stranger to controversy himself, the short-lived leader of the UDP last year says he is ready for the slings and arrows of the blue as long as the truth is out there. While he respects Price’s accomplishments, he objects to a man still considered “a polarizing political figure” with as many detractors and victims as admirers and supporters getting a day of public recognition. He also claims that the new Government are little more than “bullies who think that Belize belongs to them…”
Under the UDP, Baron Bliss Day on March 9 was renamed National Heroes and Benefactors Day to honor both Price and Goldson and others.
Former UDP leader Dean Barrow, at Price’s public funeral following his death in 2011, famously said, “The PUP will never have another leader like George Price. But then the country will never have another Prime Minister like George Price.” He also established the renaming of the Western Highway which leads to Belmopan and ultimately the western border as the George Price Highway.
The PUP has long desired a holiday in honor of Price’s birthday, but have annually laid wreaths at his Lord’s Ridge Cemetery grave on the date of his death, September 19, established as National Service Day.
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