Sunday, July 21, 2024

National Heroes RT. Hon. George Price and Hon. Philip Goldson to be featured on new Belize dollar notes


The Belize dollar bills will soon bear new images, and it will not be King Charles III of the United Kingdom (UK), the country’s new head of state, following the passing of Queen Elizabeth II. While the face of the late queen graces the Belizean currency notes, the images as per the Government of Belize (GOB) for the upcoming new batch will include that of national heroes, the late Right Honourable and Father of Belize’s Independence George Cadle Price and the Father of Democracy, the late Honourable Philip Goldson.

RT. Hon. George Price

The GOB’s weekly Cabinet brief stated that Cabinet approved this change in the new Belizean currency bills. As a result, the Central Bank has the green light to print new currency bills bearing the image of Price and Goldson. Prime Minister Honourable Dr. John Briceño said this change was for the currency bills and did not include the coins, which reportedly will continue bearing the image of the late Queen Elizabeth II. The prime minister added that some of the options presented to the government were for the new bills to include the image of King Charles III or Belize’s national heroes. They chose to go with the option of the country’s national heroes.
The late Price was Belize’s prime minister following the acquisition of independence from the UK in 1981. Price is remembered for his prominent role in leading Belize to independence under the People’s United Party (PUP). Price fought against the odds and internationalized the Belize independence cause. His efforts for an independent Belize were honored by being appointed as a member of the Privy Council of the UK in 1980 and received the Order of National Hero in Belize in 2000. He died at the age of 92 on September 19, 2011.

Hon. Philip Goldson

The Honourable Goldson, born Philip Stanley Wilberforce Goldson, was a newspaper editor, activist, and politician. He served in the House of Representatives as a member of the Albert constituency in Belize City from 1965 to 1998 and twice as a minister. Goldson is also remembered as a founding member of Belize’s current major political parties, the PUP and the United Democratic Party. Goldson was also very outspoken against the ongoing Guatemalan territorial claim to Belize. He was the leading spokesman for the political party National Alliance for Belizean Rights, also known as the Patriotic Alliance for Territorial Integrity, in the 1990s. Goldson was considered Belize’s father of democracy as he campaigned for fairness and equal rights for all Belizeans.
In 1989, the government renamed the international airport north of Belize City Philip S.W. Goldson. He died on October 3, 2001. Then on September 18, 2008, he was posthumously awarded the Order of the National Hero for his outstanding contributions to the country. To those wanting to know more about Goldson’s contributions, the Goldson House of Democracy and Patriotism can be visited in Belmopan. The Goldson’s old family house, now renovated to be a type of museum, is located on 82 Orange Street and opens Monday to Friday, 9AM to 4PM.
Islanders weigh in on decision to remove British monarch from currency notes
Some San Pedro residents agree with highlighting Belize’s national heroes in the new currency notes. They shared that it is time to acknowledge those who fought for this country and move on to become more independent. These islanders supporting this new move by the government say in this time and age, Belize needs to focus more on its people and heritage and honor the national heroes while keeping a close relationship with our former colonizers and allies.

Conversely, there were also mixed opinions, as some believed the country is not ready to cut ties with the British monarchy entirely. They agree with acknowledging the national heroes, Price and Goldson, but they still want to see the late queen and the new head of state, King Charles III, on some of the new currency bills.
One of the reasons Belizeans want to keep the British monarch from disappearing from the Belize currency is the fear of devaluation. The Belize dollar is pegged two to one with the United States dollar. The concern is that such a change could trigger a depreciation in the Belize dollar. Deputy Prime Minister Honourable Cordel Hyde quickly dispelled this concern. He supported the decision to feature Price and Goldson in the new bills and reassured that the Belize dollar would not experience any devaluation. “We’re going to be ok,” he said. “It’s about independence, sovereignty, our people, stating our right as an independent nation, asserting our identity and nationhood. The queen was on our money for way too long. This is an opportunity to do something different and show our people we have the right to self-determination.”
The new currency notes are expected to circulate in November of this year.

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