George Cadle Price

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George Cadle Price
Price in 1965
1st Prime Minister of Belize
In office
7 September 1989 – 13 July 1993
MonarchElizabeth II
Governor-GeneralElmira Minita Gordon
DeputyFlorencio Marin
Preceded byManuel Esquivel
Succeeded byManuel Esquivel
In office
12 September 1981 – 17 December 1984
MonarchElizabeth II
Governor-GeneralElmira Minita Gordon
DeputyFlorencio Marin
Preceded byhimself (as prime minister)
Succeeded byManuel Esquivel
Premier of Belize
In office
1 June 1973 – 12 September 1981
Preceded byhimself (as prime minister of British Honduras)
Succeeded byhimself (as Prime Minister)
Premier of British Honduras
In office
1 January 1964 – 1 June 1973
Preceded byhimself (as First Minister)
Succeeded byhimself (as Prime minister of Belize)
First Minister of British Honduras
In office
7 April 1961 – 1 January 1964
Preceded byoffice created
Succeeded byhimself (as Prime minister)
Leader of the Opposition
In office
3 July 1993 – 10 November 1996
MonarchElizabeth II
Governors GeneralElmira Minita Gordon
Colville Young
Prime MinisterManuel Esquivel
Preceded byManuel Esquivel
Succeeded bySaid Musa
Member of the Belize House of Representatives for Pickstock
In office
4 September 1989 – 5 March 2003
Preceded byJane Ellen Usher
Succeeded byGodfrey Smith
Member of the Belize House of Representatives for Freetown[1]
In office
26 March 1961 – 14 December 1984
Preceded by(constituency created)
Succeeded byDerek Aikman
Member of the British Honduras Legislative Assembly for Belize North
In office
28 April 1954 – 26 March 1961
Preceded by(constituency created)
Succeeded by(constituency abolished)
Personal details
Born(1919-01-15)15 January 1919
Belize City, British Honduras
(now Belize)
Died19 September 2011(2011-09-19) (aged 92)
Belize City, Belize
Political partyPeople's United Party

George Cadle Price (15 January 1919 – 19 September 2011) was a Belizean statesman who served as the head of government of Belize from 1961 to 1984 and 1989 to 1993. He was the first minister and premier under British rule until independence in 1981 and was the nation's first prime minister after independence that year. He is considered one of the principal architects of Belizean independence. Today he is referred to by many as the "Father of the Nation". Price effectively dominated Belizean politics from the early 1960s until his 1996 retirement from party leadership, having been the nation's head of government under various titles for most of that period.

He entered politics in 1947 with his election to the Belize City Council. In 1949, with the devaluation of the British Honduran dollar he, together with a group of citizens, formed the People's Committee. It was the start of the "peaceful, constructive Belizean revolution". On 29 September 1950, he co-founded the People's United Party, which he led for four decades and which was devoted to the political and economic independence of the British colony, then known as British Honduras.[2]

Early life and education[edit]

George Price was born in Belize City in what was then British Honduras, to William and Irene (née Escalante) Price. He had eight sisters and two brothers.[3]

Price received his early education at Holy Redeemer Primary School and St. John's College High School (SJC). He survived the hurricane of 1931 which destroyed SJC at Loyola Park, swimming away from the wreckage. Under the Jesuits he was exposed to the teachings of Catholic social justice, in particular the encyclical Rerum novarum.[4] Upon graduation, the young Price felt a call to the priesthood, so he went to study abroad, first attending the Saint Augustine's Minor Seminary in Mississippi, United States, and later the Mayor Seminario Conciliar in Guatemala City. Throughout his life Price remained a devout Roman Catholic and attended Mass daily.[5]

The war in Europe prevented him from completing his studies in Rome and, instead, George Price returned to Belize. He was hired by local businessman Robert Sidney Turton as his private secretary. Price also contributed to the Belize Billboard, then run by Philip Goldson.[citation needed]

Political career[edit]

Price and a Peace Corps volunteer, 1976

After receiving encouragement from Turton, Price ran for election to the Belize City Council in 1944 and 1947, being successful in 1947.[6] Upon the formation of the People's Committee (PC) in 1950, Price was named its Assistant Secretary, and in a famous speech later that year claimed that "National Unity" propelled the PC's actions. With the formation of the PUP, Price's stature rose and he ascended through the party ranks until he became Party Leader following a leadership dispute in 1956.[citation needed]

Elected to the colony's newly created Legislative Assembly in 1954,[7] he also served as mayor of Belize City from 1956 to 1962. In 1956, Price became party leader of the PUP. As First Minister, a post he held since 1961, he led the team which began negotiations over independence with the United Kingdom. He maintained that post as Premier in 1964.

In 1981 Belize gained its independence, and Price served as the country's first prime minister and foreign minister until 1984. The PUP was defeated in the elections by the United Democratic Party under Manuel Esquivel, with Price unexpectedly losing his own House of Representatives seat to a political newcomer.[8] Price continued to lead the PUP from outside the National Assembly while Florencio Marin became Leader of the Opposition.[9] Price resumed the post of prime minister after successfully returning to the House in the 1989 election, serving until 1993, when he was again succeeded by Esquivel.[citation needed] In October 1996 he announced his resignation as party leader, and on 10 November 1996 was formally succeeded by Said Musa. Price remained a member of the Belize House until the 2003 election.


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 has received similar honours in other Caribbean and Central American countries. In 1982, he was made a member of the Privy Council of the United Kingdom.[2]


Price died on 19 September 2011, at the age of 92.[10] On 26 September 2011, a state funeral was held. Price was laid to rest at the Lord's Ridge Cemetery in Belize City.[citation needed]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ British Honduras Legislative Assembly before 1973
  2. ^ a b "Belizean Biographies". website. The Belize National Library Service and Information System. Archived from the original on 20 January 2010. Retrieved 28 December 2010.
  3. ^ Craig, Meg; Musa, Yasser (2004). George Price: Journey of a Belizean Hero. Belize City, Belize: Factory Books. p. 5. ISBN 9768111852.
  4. ^ Woods, Charles M. Sr.; et al. (2015). Years of Grace: The History of Roman Catholic Evangelization in Belize: 1524-2014. Belize City: Roman Catholic Diocese of Belize City-Belmopan. pp. 327 to 329.
  5. ^ Rt. Hon. George Cadle Price – a legend, Krem Radio, 24 September 2011. (accessed 9 October 2014)
  6. ^ Craig, Meg; Musa, Yasser (2004). George Price: Journey of a Belizean Hero. Belize City, Belize: Factory Books. p. 13. ISBN 9768111852.
  7. ^ General Elections 1954, Belize Elections and Boundaries Commission. (accessed 19 November 2014)
  8. ^ General Election 1984 Archived 2014-10-16 at the Wayback Machine, Belize Elections and Boundaries Commission. (accessed 9 October 2014)
  9. ^ The Right Honourable George Cadle Price, (accessed 9 October 2014)
  10. ^ "George Price obituary". 20 September 2011.

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
office created
Prime Minister of Belize
Succeeded by
Preceded by Prime Minister of Belize
Succeeded by
Preceded by Leader of the People's United Party
Succeeded by