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        The most honorable George Price the father of a nation

   A tribute to a man I have loved and admired for forty five years.

I remember when our delegates talked of a brilliant young men named George Price.

 I remember when Colonial secretary Bob Major came to our settlement in Mexico, we expected George Price to come too. They were very sorry he had not come.

 I remember when our bishop C.R. Reimer came back from British Honduras to finalize the agreement of our special privileges so we could settle here how impressed he was with the young man who had studied our agreement with Mexico, and had pointed out a phrase in it that nullified the privileges and suggested a change that would make our agreement with B.H. permanent.     `

  I remember in late march 1958 after arriving in Belize, I met the, by then famous Emory King, he took me to one of the political rallies, a certain Mr. Pollard was speaking. I was upset, at the way he criticized a government official named Price. I asked Emory, how dare he? How can he get away with this? Emory said, this is not Mexico this is Belize! This is when I learned to appreciate democracy and the freedom of speech. After this lesson Emory and his girl friend took me out to my first Belizean chicken dinner.

 I remember the report of one of our delegations to the Primers office. They said he had a separate phone at each ear and was going through his mail while they were presenting their case. Doing four things at the same time, he did not miss a thing.

 I remember when Mennonite Center was setting up an egg grading machine to price them according to size. Mr. Price said no, this is too complicated! Letís keep it simple, an egg is an egg. So it remains today!

  I remember a simple old house behind the Mennonite Center with a police guard in front. If we were lucky sometimes we would see Mr. Price come down the steps. He was admired for his simple life style. Many a Mennonite has proudly pointed to that house and said, that is where our Prime Minister lives. Even National Geographic Magazine pointed how different it was from the typical Latin American leaderís high life style that you always see.  

  I remember my neighbor Bernard Friesen telling me how important Hattie Ville was to Mr. Price. And would stay for lunch at the Mennonite mission, and would share with them about country and world situations.

  When we came to Belize we did not ask for land grants or tax exemptions. (The government graciously offered to wave the $200per person immigration tax) We asked for religious freedom, the right to educate our children. We enjoy this to this day. On the condition, that we would not become a burden to the people of Belize, we would grow food for local consumption and export. Up to today we have managed to produce mostly for the local market but for export, until recent years has been very limited

   I remember flagging down a vehicle in Hattie Ville it turned out to be the Prime Minister. I was ashamed and apologized. He dismissed the apology, and asked me what I wanted? I said I want a ride to Belize City. He said get in, and I had a good talk with him. He proudly told how he a been involved in setting up the agreement when the Mennonites came to B.H. This made me feel very good that after all these years he still felt like that.

  I remember being with a person from Pilgrimage Valley, close to San Ignacio when we met Mr. Price. This person asked  if it would be possible to also get the special privileges for a group of conservative Mennonites from the U.S.A, who would like to settle in Belize. He answered these separate settlements give problems. You are welcome to come! Just come and be Belizeans.

 Six of our children have been born in Belize, and most of our grandchildren. If they move away they many come back.

 Over forty young men and girls have married native Belizeans, seems like we are becoming more Belizean then the Belizeans,

 I remember my wife and I were working in the bean field when Mr. Price stopped by, he asked, are you Friesen or Reimer? I replied, Loewen. He then  said, sad things happen in this country which we regret, but evil is everywhere. This was at the time we were still grieving over the terrible assault and robbery my brother Abe and his wife had experienced. I realized, with his fast mind he had made the connection the instantly he heard the name Loewen.  We were comforted by his sympathy.

 I remember for years, in the secret of my mind I named Mr. Price prince Absalom, when I saw the practical and wise tactics of service he used to win the hearts of the people of Belize. Today we are thankful that he had more patience and wisdom then Absalom (whose story, as a student of the Bible, he must have well known), and could lead us into successful nation-hood , and has reached honorable  retirement age.

 Today I will again quote the prophet Jeremiah when he advised the children of Israel on their conduct in the captivity of Babylon. (We will call ours the liberty of Belize)   Build houses, plant trees, let your children marry, and increase. Work for the well of the country. If it goes well for the country, it will go well for you. Today we can honestly say it has gone well for the country and us. We thank the most Honorable George Price the representatives of the Government and the people of Belize for sharing their peace and prosperity with us.

   In the name of our Savoir and Lord Jesus Christ we thank you and bless you .               

        Menno Loewen in the name of the Spanish Lookout community        

 

Written By Menno Loewen