Last week when we brought you an interview with the Leader of the Opposition, John Briceno, he was standing outside the Buttonwood Bay Clinic in Belize City where his father was being treated. His father had become frail in the last few weeks after suffering from cardiac complications. On his Facebook page, John Briceno wrote on Saturday evening, quote, “Please pray for my dad that God welcomes him in His arms. My dad has lived a good life & we are grateful but we all have to take this final journey. He is coming to the end.” Some eight and a half hours later, the PUP Party Leader updated his page saying, quote, “My father is now at rest in the arms of our Lord. He passed away at midnight. I am very grateful for the life he gave my family and I and to the service he gave to his country Belize.” End of quote. And serve he did to this country. 78-year-old, Elijio Briceno served not only the people of Orange Walk but the entire country. It was under his ministry that the social security movement came about; he had served as the Chairman of the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association and was crucial in working with the football athletes in Orange Walk and getting the works done at the People’s Stadium. Briceno or Don Joe as he was affectionately called had also provided house lots for dozens of families in the Louisiana area and others. Briceno worked as a teacher in several villages, he served on the Orange Walk Town Council and contributed greatly to the sport of horse racing. He was a Government Minister in the areas of energy and communications. When asked to describe Don Joe Briceno, his political colleague, Don Hector Silva told Love News that the first thing that came to mind was humility.
“He was actually a member of the House of Representatives. He took over from his older brother who was also a member of the House. Polo was the older brother, he was a representative before Joe then Joe was elected to the house in that same constituency that his son now has served for four or six terms. Joe was a very humble, very quiet young man. I know him from St. John’s College. He was my junior but he was a student at St. John’s. He was a very quiet young man, Polo was more outgoing but Joe was always a very quiet and humble young man. Actually Joe has done a great job, he had done good service to his country and for that I think Belizeans should be proud because these are the men who partook in the movement of independence, he was one of those who stood through and saw the struggle. Mr. Price used to call them soldiers of the constructive Belizean revolution and Joe was one of those. I admired him very much.”
The People’s United Party has issued a release saying, quote, “The People’s United Party would like to assure the Briceño family that they can find comfort in knowing that they’re not alone in their grief. People from inside and outside of the Party have known the generosity and goodness of this man. Don Joe was a source of towering strength to his family, and a giant figure in the Orange Walk community. He was always such a fantastic cheerleader and trusted advisor for our Party Leader, and though he had been ill for some time, and his feet eventually got tired, his huge heart never wavered. He worked long and hard for his family, his community and his country. And now his work is done; his soul is at rest.” End of quote. The Government of Belize has announced that Briceno will have an official funeral on Wednesday, May 25 at La Inmaculada Church in Orange Walk Town. Elijio Briceno is survived by seven sons and three daughters. A wake is scheduled for tonight at his home.