Belize City Council’s Economic Advisor, Hubert Pipersburgh, is the first person to have died after being infected with COVID-19. The 55-year-old Belizean American was tested positive on April 3, 2020, and by Sunday, April 5, Pipersburgh lost his fight against COVID-19. Just before nine o’clock last night, Prime Minister Dean Barrow issued a statement on the passing of Patient Four.
Rt. Hon. Dean Barrow, Prime Minister of Belize: “It is my sad duty to announce the death this afternoon of the fourth patient to be diagnosed in Belize with COVID-19. On behalf of the entire nation I offer deepest condolences to the wife and family of Hubert Pipersburgh. He was a well known, indeed renowned Belizean who served his country both at home and in the diaspora. Mr.Pipersburgh was diagnosed in San Ignacio early on Friday last and was transferred to the KHMH that same evening. He was then intubated and appeared stable until today when he deteriorated sharply. He died despite what I am assured were herculean efforts on the part of the medical staff to save him. Mr.Pipersburgh’s death is an occasion for mourning it is also a reminder coming to us in the worst possible way of the need for all Belizeans to treat this terrible virus with the grave seriousness it deserves.”
Pipersburgh, like anyone who passes away during this State of Emergency, will not be able to have the traditional burial. His mother and daughter who are in the United States are unable to come to Belize to pay their last respects and only immediate family members in Belize will be doing so. Love News spoke with Pipersburgh’s uncle, Pulu Lightburn on the life of Patient Four.
Pulu Lightburn, Uncle of Hubert Pipersburgh: “He spent a lot of timing growing up around us on West Canal in the late 70’s and early 80’s before he went to the states. We used to call him Spy and that’s his nickname up to today. He moved to LA where he joined the Muslim Brotherhood and changed his name to Abdula. Bertie is arguably the friendliest person I know, he was everybody’s friend and he was very outspoken and liked to get in debates but it was never personal. As a matter of fact I’m looking at Facebook and this is the most crying I’ve ever seen in the death of a person. I have seen at least forty or fifty different females putting up pictures with Bertie, even though he was a family man he was a good husband and he wasn’t a womanizer but he had a lot of friends especially a lot of female friends and his ears were always open to listen to anybody and he’s done a lot of philanthropic work. As a matter of fact just before he died he put together with some other guys to donate some basketball tennis shoes and balls to my basketball kids but he’s always involved in philanthropic work and his thing was always to make Belize a better country; he was all about doing the right thing. When he was a kid he was asthmatic, I remember when he was around I remember his mother used to call him to come inside when it was dusty because of his asthmatic problem so that might have been you know his immune system being weak. The thing with it is that everything we found out was by Facebook. He himself found out that he had Coronavirus on Facebook would you believe that ? That means somebody in the hospital leaked out the information before they even told him and that is one of the biggest concern of the family. He was the only child for his mother and the thing is that she is in New York and she – her name is Val- and she has no connection or she doesn’t know what’s going on and she can’t make it to Belize because of the situation with the flights. So that’s the hardest part, she won’t be able to attend her son’s funeral. The system had sent some instruction that if you’re going to bury him you need to have the Paul bearers we can only have ten people at the funeral so I think what the family is doing and what they should do with anybody who dies from Coronavirus is burn the body and put the ashes in a vase and wait until this stuff has subsided and then you can bury him.”